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Mr. Manual Braga

Mr. Manual Braga, Spring Valley, CA

Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of this Committee:

When the war broke out, I was inducted into the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) under the command of General MacArthur.  During the war, we suffered so much.

There was shortage of food, no medicine to cure the wounded and the sick.  When I fired my riffle I would stumble because my body was starving for nourishment and energy. I was weak all the time.  My comrades and I fought very hard and we hardly had sleep because we had to defend the frontline. We ate porridge a day, many were wounded and dead but we had to continue to fight.

We Filipinos have the longest fight. Until now we are still fighting.  Since Dec. 1, 1941 up to the present all nations that joined the US Army, the Chinese, Cambodians, Australians, Vietnamese are now being served their veteran benefits, but we Filipinos are not!  There must be a reason why?  Is it because of money, but there is money in the invasion of Iraq. Why must we veterans suffer?

America is a generous nation giving aid to all poor nations around the world. But they have forgotten their obligation to the Filipino Veterans who served for this country who have fought side by side with Americans.  Filipinos are still fighting for equity while others who fought with us are now receiving the fruit of their sacrifice.  Without Veterans there is no Democracy today. 

When I stepped foot on this country a bitter sweet feeling came over me. I wondered when us, Filipino veterans, will receive the recognition we deserve. Right there and then I told myself I wanted to continue to fight for Justice and equity… Luckily there are Filipinos fighting for us. I know that the younger generations will continue to fight for us! Please continue fighting! So many of us are already old we need your voices to speak for us, to fight alongside us!! We must fight! Fight! Fight until their hearts and mind are touch by our courage and determination… Do not stop until Filipino Veterans have received FULL EQUITY!!

Now I am 80 years old and my end is not too far ahead.  We are not here to beg, We Filipinos are hardworking people, we are only after “what is due to us.”

The promise made by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lord help us to open their eyes, soften their hearts, to clear their minds, and give us the recognition and justice we deserve.

I am encouraged by the leadership of Congressman Filner, Senator Inouye, Senator Akaka, and Congressman Honda.  I know that the veterans Affairs Committee will do the right thing and the Members who walk these halls will help us get he justice we deserve.  I urge the Committee to support the passage of HR 760, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007.   

Thank you.