Congresswoman Speier to honor Filipino vets wronged by U.S. gov’t

(Photo) Gary de Guzman

SAN MATEO – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) held a press conference on Veterans Day at City Hall in Daly City with Filipino World War II veterans, local elected officials, and community leaders to demand benefits these war heroes would receive through her bill, H.R. 2823, the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2019.

During the war, 250,000 Filipinos volunteered to fight with the United States and they played an instrumental role in pushing back against Japan’s aggression and winning the Pacific Campaign. They were promised the same benefits as all other veterans by President Franklin Roosevelt, but in 1946 Congress rescinded that promise.

“A promise made must be a promise kept,” Rep. Speier said. “Though many years overdue, we must finally right this wrong. Only about 11,000 of these veterans are still alive and many are over 90 years old. We are running out of time to make their families whole.”

Speier’s bill would award veterans, their widows, and their children full VA benefits.

“I am grateful for Congresswoman Speier fighting for Filipinos who fought and died next to Americans in the war,” said David Tejada, a survivor of the Bataan Death March. “I am 96 and I am still here but so many of us are not.”

“The Daly City Council joins with Congresswoman Jackie Speier in paying tribute to our veterans for the sacrifice they made for our country,” Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventura said. “We honor and celebrate their service and pledge to never forget them. There is no honor too great, no celebration too grand, or memorial too glorious for our Veterans. The raising of the POW/MIA flag in Daly City cements our commitment to remember everyone forever.”

The press conference was followed by a POW/MIA flag raising by Mayor Ray Buenaventura.