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Ms. Teresita Cataag Bautista

Ms. Teresita Cataag Bautista, Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, Oakland, CA, Member

Honorable Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and distinguished members of the VA Committee.

I am Teresita Bautista, a member of Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, and a resident of Oakland, California and the San Francisco Bay Area where the Filipino population is 400,000 strong.  FilCRA is a member of the National Network for Veterans Equity (NNVE), and NNVE is a member of the National Alliance Filipino Veterans Equity.  Our purpose is to finally reverse the injustice of the Rescission Act of 1946.

I am writing to urge your support for H.R. 760, the Filipino WWII Veterans Equity Act of 2007.

I am the daughter of a World War II Veteran, Eutiquio Guillermo Bautista.  H is co-workers called him Tex.  He passed during the holidays of 1984, between Christmas and New Year, just after his 75th birthday.  He was one of the lucky ones to return to the U.S. in 1945 after having fought in the Philippines under U.S. command.  By then he had met and married his wife, Florentina Cataag.  Soon after in August 1946, I was born in his hometown of Aringay, La Union.

My father and scores of others belonged to the First Filipino Infantry of the U.S. Army and fought unconditionally under the American flag in the Philippines to free all from Japanese tyranny and occupation.  He, along with countless other unsung heroes, defended and fought tirelessly for democracy in the U.S. and in the world. 

After the end of the war, my mother and I traveled on the USS David Schenk, now dry-docked in the bay near Martinez, CA, to join him eventually in Oakland Chinatown, CA.  Since the 1950s, my family has been active in the Rizal Post 598 and Auxiliary.

My father asked to be buried in his U.S. army uniform, a great testament to the felt towards the U.S.  Because he was already living in the U.S. when he was recruited into the army, he was afforded U.S. citizenship, as were my mother and I, for his valor and commitment to defending the U.S. in the Pacific Rim. 

His contributions are no different from those few thousand Filipino WWII veterans, who remain without U.S. military recognition or full benefits, due to the Rescission Act of 1946.

I appeal to the VA Committee to grant these brave men and women their rightful place along side the U.S. veterans they fought with.  They gave their all to live in a free world.

 I urgently request you pass H.R. 760.