From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: 'We Must Restore Full Benefits for Filipino Veterans'

February 6, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on a town hall meeting hosted by Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) on Filipino veterans' issues:

"Thank you, Congressman Filner, for convening this meeting today to address the concerns of our nation's Filipino veterans. I commend your leadership and your tireless work to restore overdue benefits for Filipino veterans.

"In a time of war, we asked for and received the commitment of Filipino soldiers to serve under U.S. authority. The people of the Philippines played a vital role in the outcome of World War II. Fighting a ruthless enemy, who at one point controlled most of East Asia, countless Americans and Filipinos sacrificed their lives to uphold democratic principles. The courageous efforts of Filipino soldiers, scouts and guerillas were central to allied victory in the Philippines and, therefore, in the Pacific theater.

"As Americans, we make a simple yet sacred promise to those who serve our country in uniform: 'You have taken care of us, so we will take care of you.'

"When Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946, it revoked the full eligibility rights of brave Filipino soldiers and broke our nation's commitment to those who have served. The Rescission Act is a sad, shameful chapter in the history of the United States. Over the years we have restored some health care benefits to the Filipino veterans, but we must restore full benefits. That is why I have urged Congress to pass the Equity Act, which would fulfill the commitment the United States made over half a century ago to courageous Filipino soldiers.

"Filipino veterans who have fought for freedom and liberty should not have to fight their own government for the benefits they deserve. On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we will leave no veteran behind.

"Again, thank you, Congressman Filner, for hosting this meeting and to everyone participating today who is fighting for justice for Filipino veterans."




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