"...more than 50 years ago, the brave Filipino soldiers of World War II, soldiers who were drafted into our Armed Forces by Roosevelt, soldiers who exhibited great courage at the battles of Bataan and Corregidor, were unceremoniously deprived of all their veterans' benefits by the Congress of 1946."- Bob
Congressman Bob Filner is working hard to restore the benefits that the brave Filipino veterans of World War II were promised. The Filipino veterans were drafted into service by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served bravely and honorably during some of democracy's darkest hours of the 20th century. After the war, many of the Filipino veterans were deprived of benefits and veterans' status by the Congress of 1946.
Bob has fought for several important steps that have been taken to restore the dignity of Filipino World War II veterans:
1. Filipino World War II veterans, their families, and supporters celebrated the passage of two bills by Congress in December, 2003 that will restore many benefits that were taken away from these veterans in the Rescissions Act, passed by the 1946 Congress.
S. 1156 (108th session of Congress) contained provisions from H.R. 664, a bill by Congressman Filner, that gave Filipino WWII veterans in the United States full access to Veterans Affairs medical facilities. S. 1156 was signed by the President and is Public Law 108-170.
The second bill, H.R. 2297(108th session of Congress) also included provisions from Filner's bill that increased the compensation received by New Philippine Scouts and the widows of Filipino World War II veterans in the U.S. from the peso rate to the full dollar rate they deserve - the same rate as other veterans. Now, all service disabled Filipino veterans in the U.S. are receiving full benefits! The bill also restored burial benefits to Philippine Scouts in the U.S. H.R. 2297 was also signed by the President and is Public Law 108-183.
These bills are stepping stones to full and fair benefits for all Filipino veterans of World War II.
2. Bob worked with former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi to provide at least $500,000 worth of medical equipment each year for the Veterans' Hospital in Manila.
3. Filipino World War II veterans who are currently living in the United States and receiving Supplemental Social Security (SSI) and who wish to return to live in the Philippines can continue to receive 75% of their SSI benefits in the Philippines. Many veterans have taken advantage of this new law.
4. The House of Representatives and the Senate have both passed resolutions to recognize the Filipino World War II veterans for their service in the war.
Bob and many other Members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties will re-introduce legislation in the 110th Congress to restore all benefits that were taken away by Congress in the 1946 Rescissions Act.
Congressman Filner will continue this fight until complete equity is granted to all Filipino World War II veterans. For his efforts, Bob was presented with the Legion of Honor, the Philippines' highest civilian award, by then-President Fidel Ramos.
Bob is one of the founding members and co-chair of the United States-Philippines Friendship Caucus, a Congressional Caucus to help Representatives more easily pursue issues of mutual interest to the United States, the Philippines, and the Filipino-American community.