PGMA asks Bush to support two bills to benefit Filipino veterans
Manila (September 9) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo urged President Bush to immediately sign into law two bills that will benefit the Filipino veterans, once they are passed by US Congress.
The President expressed the hope in a message she sent to US President George Bush at the sidelines of the ongoing APEC Leaders' Meeting.
The two bills in contention are the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007 (HR 70) and the Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 (S. 1315) which will finally provide pension benefits for Filipino veterans.
The President, in her message to President Bush, said that when the two bills are passed into law, this will be a gesture reflective of the profound and deep relations between the Philippines and the United States.
This will also be a reflection of the Filipino and American people's shared commitment to uphold the values of democracy and justice for all.
The issue is very important as it will mean the end of the decades-long struggles of the Filipino veterans to be recognized for their important contributions to the campaign for democracy during World War II.
When passed, the two laws will benefit about 18,500 surviving Filipino veterans, around 6,000 of who are living in the United States and another 12,000 in the Philippines.
The Filipino Veterans Equity Act, which is sponsored by chairman of House Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Bob Filner, is a stand-alone bill specifically intended to cover benefits for Filipino veterans. As a stand-alone bill, the House version provides more benefits specifically for Filipino veterans.
The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007, which was introduced by Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Sen. Daniel Akaka, is an omnibus veterans bill covering benefits for all US veterans which he submitted to a committee vote when he realized that the Senate version of a stand-alone measure for Filipinos veterans would not have enough support in the Senate. (PIA Tacloban) [top]