Commentary: The doughnut and the hole for Pinoy war veterans
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (26 February) -- When all is said and done, the reality is that the World War II Filipino Veterans, those who survived the twilight of their years in particular, can rejoice now, even belatedly.
Okay, we smirk at the thought that their valor and sacrifices were reduced to dollars and cents; we shudder at how those who died in the 63-year gap since the war ended were unable to get what their living comrades now enjoy, or ought to enjoy, granting that death can be postponed even for a year until February 18, 2010, when all claims shall have been fully paid.
At the end of the day, surviving veterans, or their immediate beneficiaries, should still be grateful to Uncle Sum for the $ 198 million lump-sum appropriation that was inserted into the just signed stimulus bill by President Obama on February 18.
In life as a whole, a popular adage says, fix your eyes on the doughnut, and not upon the hole.
For Pinoy veterans living in the Philippines the doughnut of $ 9,000.00 translates to no less than P 400,000.00, and that's quite an amount, considering that many grand old lolos now in their 80's and 90's still remain a crucial breadwinner of their families, new or extended families of married apos living under one roof.
For those living in the US, the doughnut is $ 15,000.00, and a portion of it would surely end up in the country like any remittances from our OFWs sent home.
Sixty-three years. What a long time, even if we consider that the serious effort to fight for the Equity Bill in the US was just about the past fifteen years or so.
And so, out of the estimated 200,000-strong Filipino veterans – the guerillas, the USAFFE, or Philippine Scouts -- only some 18,000 to 20,000 remained alive, and this number is fast diminishing at the rate of 10 persons dying per day, according to grim statistics.
In the US over the years, some American war veterans have been working round the clock the past six decades to correct the moral injustice inflicted to their Pinoy buddies, and they deserve due respect, like Sen. Daniel Inouye, himself a US veteran (in the European war theater).
Since 1946, Pinoy veterans had been promised the doughnut but got instead the doughnut's hole. Now the real doughnuts have arrived, and for that alone we should celebrate.
LOCAL FRONT: Southern Leyte got another feather in the cap when the Department of Health (DOH) recognized the province as filariasis-free, the first-ever local government unit declared as such in the country. DOH Undersecretary underscored the importance of this achievement when he said that other provinces should look up to the province as their model and inspiration in combating filarial in their places. The honor was the result of dogged perseverance and persistence by health personnel and workers down to the barangay level. These workaholic forces deserve a pat in the back. Congratulaltions!
ODDLY YOURS: In London early this month, not a few eyebrows were raised when a tabloid reported a 13-year old child as becoming a father to a new-born child. The baby-faced boy was named Alfie Patten, his "girlfriend" Chantelle Steadman, 15-year old, and they became parents to daughter Maise Roxanne. The Sun tabloid, however, did not mention any tests to prove paternity, but the issue gripped Britain's social conscience to the core. Move over, Beatles, The Queen, or Churchill, for a new sensation has come! (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]