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Submission For The Record of Mr. Patrick G. Ganio, Sr., American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, National President

Mr. Chairman, Honorable members of the Committee, Fellow Veterans and friends,

Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to testify once more, perhaps our last to be heard of our appeal to this Congress and this Administration to pass the pension benefit for Filipino WWII veterans in true spirit of fairness and justice.

There should be no doubt about the strength of our bonds of friendship as tested in the great battles of Bataan and Corregidor as well as the resistance of the Filipino People during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

After the war, time has brought changes in the lives and men and nations where this great country is no exception.

For in the Philippines after the war, the United States created a new outlook in the 79th Congress when it passed the Rescission Act of 1946 that stripped our Filipino veterans of their honor and benefits.

Mr. Chairman, it is comforting to feel that America cares for those who bore the battle. But as we think of the supreme sacrifices we paid for serving under the American flag, it is shocking and painful to think that in our low moments to feel betrayed from a friend we trust.

Mr. Chairman, what happened to the principles and values of right and justice tutored us in this Democracy fathered to us by America?

But democracy takes a long route. Hence we are still fighting for our rights. And in the long process, we have been able to win several benefits that we deserve under mutually acceptable circumstances and justified by our common interests.

Mr. Chairman, pass our Equity Pension bill at the end of our lifetime. This testimony is our last cry for justice. Be this our valedictory appeal that this Congress and this Administration be generous enough to pass our pension bill to end once and for all our long struggle.

For tomorrow, we may not pass this way again

Very sincerely yours, Patrick Ganio, Sr.


Office of the Governor, State of California
Sacrament, CA,  95814
December 8, 2005

The President
The White House
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing in strong support of bipartisan legislation currently pending in Congress that would address the inequity in current law by providing full veterans' benefits to Filipino veterans who served at the request and under the command of the U.S. military in World War II. The Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2005 (H.R. 302/S. 146) has broad support in Congress and a similar bill considered by the last Congress which is sponsored by over 200 members of the House.

While an estimated 300,000 Filipino veterans served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) in World War II, a federal law was passed in 1946 that rescinded their eligibility for veteran's benefits. Currently, less than 30,000 Filipino veterans live in the United States and the Philippines. Most are not entitled to the full array of benefits offered to fellow American veterans - specifically Disability Pension benefits. These benefits were promised to and earned by these veterans, but the promise was not fulfilled after the war.

This inequity exists today. The Filipino Veterans Equity Act would fully recognize the military service of these veterans to this nation. An existing budget proposal in the House of Representatives would provide them with a modest $200 monthly disability pension to complement the VA health care benefits that Congress had restored in 2003 upon your Administration's request.

Action is needed this Congress because the number of surviving Filipino veterans of World War II decreases with each passing year. I feel the United States government should recognize the military service of these veterans and provide them the benefits they deserve. While Congress has adopted legislation that provides a limited number of benefits to some of these veterans, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act would eliminate gaps in coverage that remain and would ensure all Filipino veterans receive the same benefits available to American veterans of that war.

I know that you share my commitment to our nation's veterans and ask that you join me in supporting efforts to give these veterans their long overdue recognition and the benefits they deserve.

Sincerely,

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor


Office of the Governor, State of California
Sacrament, CA,  95814
October 30, 2006

The President
The White House
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President,

During World War II, more than 200,000 Filipino soldiers fought beside American troops to restore liberty and democracy to their homeland in the war against Japan. The bravery and sacrifice of these Filipino veterans contributed to our victory in World War II. While the Immigration Act of 1990 allowed these Filipino veterans the opportunity to become citizens of the United States, the law did not extend this benefit to their adult sons and daughters, many of whom have been on immigration waiting lists for several years.

With just 6,000 Filipino World War II veterans still alive in the United States, I ask you to join me in supporting House Resolution 901. This bill would give priority in the issuance of immigrant visas to the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans who are naturalized citizens of the United States. Given that the youngest of these veterans are in their eighties, reuniting these families is particularly important.

The United States has a proud tradition of recognizing the sacrifices made by our veterans. House Resolution 901 is our opportunity to recognize and reward the remarkable courage and dedication of the Filipino-American veterans who fought for our country during World War II.

Sincerely,

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor