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PIA Press Release
2009/03/05

Filipino vets in US thank PGMA for standing by them in "long quest for justice and equity"

Manila (5 March) -- Filipino World War II (WWII) veterans all over the United States have expressed their gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo "for standing by them in their long quest for justice and equity."

The WWII veterans in the Washington DC area in the eastern seaboard were seconded in their expression of gratitude to President Arroyo by those in the Los Angeles area in the western seaboard, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in its latest website news.

"Speaking on behalf of the veterans, Celestino Almeda conveyed his deep appreciation to President Arroyo at a reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy to honor Filipino World War II veterans and to celebrate the signing into law of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)," the DFA said.

The DFA said the 92-year-old Almeda "is one of the most active lobbyists in Congress," adding that the latter "also thanked all those who helped make this victory possible namely, members of the Filipino community, officials in the Philippine government, and the advocates and supporters of the bill in both Houses of the U.S. Congress."

"One cannot truly appreciate the light if one has not been subjected to the darkness," the DFA quoted Almeda as saying when the WWII veteran rejoiced at the signing of the ARRA which contains provisions that finally recognize the military service of Filipino World War II veterans and provides them with lump-sum benefits.

Recounting the suffering and ordeal that he and his fellow veterans experienced and witnessed during the war, Mr. Almeda expressed the joy that he felt on this momentous occasion and stated that he was happy with the outcome, the DFA added.

Almeda's sentiments were echoed by WWII veterans in the West. "Mr. Franco Arcebal of the American Coalition of Filipino American Veterans, in a celebration held in Lake Street Park in Los Angeles, California, expressed his appreciation for President Arroyo," related the DFA.

To celebrate the victory of Filipino WWII veterans in their fight for recognition and benefits, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa recently hosted at the Philippine Embassy a reception that also served as "an occasion to render thanks and appreciation to all those who have supported the cause of the veterans."

"The reception was attended by Filipino veterans, leaders and members of the Filipino American community in the Metro D.C. area, the media, and staffers of key supporters of the bill in the U.S. Congress such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Bob Filner," the DFA said. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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