In his continued effort to see that the Denied Filipino Veterans - including the Mighty Five who reside in Las Vegas - are fully recognized for their service to the United States during World War II, Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today announced that he has introduced legislation that would "direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to accept certain documents as proof of service in determining the eligibility of an individual to receive amounts from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund." The legislation was drafted in response to veterans having their claims for compensation denied on the grounds that they did not possess the proper documents, when many have documentation of their service. Rep. Heck introduced H.R. 6464 on Friday and presented the legislation Monday to the Mighty Five and their families at the nursing home facility of Silvero Cuaresma, a 100 year old Filipino-American veteran.
"Far too many Filipino-American veterans have passed without being properly recognized for their service to the United States during World War II," Rep. Heck said. "This bill clearly defines the types of documents the Secretary must accept as proof of service so that our denied veterans will be recognized. These brave men deserve to live out their final years knowing that the sacrifices they made all those years ago have been recognized and H.R. 6464 will finally make their dreams of recognition a reality."
H.R. 6464 amends the current requirement that veterans applying for compensation under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund be on the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster (commonly known as the Missouri List) and possess certified documentation from the United States Army, to make eligible veterans who:
* appear on the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster or
* have certified documentation from the US Army or Philippine government
On July 26, Rep. Heck addressed his colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives in recognition of the 71st anniversary of Filipino soldiers being inducted into the U.S. Army to help counter the Japanese threat in the Pacific.
On February 18, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the Rescission Act of 1946 into law. This law denied over two-hundred thousand Filipino World War II veterans, who served before July 1, 1946, the benefits promised to them five years prior by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. These veterans fought under the direction of U.S. commanders for several years as the conflict against Imperial Japan ensued in the Pacific theater, only to be eventually denied compensation. In 2009, Congress finally acknowledged the dedicated service of these veterans when it established the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund. However, since that time, thousands of Filipino-American veterans have had their claims denied on the grounds that they did not possess proper documentation. H.R. 6464 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to accept certain documentation, thus ensuring previously denied veterans will be recognized and compensated for their service to the United States.