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2.26.2009

compensation for filipino veterans

Some more information on the provision tucked inside the stimulus bill authorizing compensation -- $198 million -- for Filipino World War II veterans. Those who have become U.S. citizens get $15,000 each; non-citizens get $9,000: U.S. to pay 'forgotten' Filipino World War II veterans.

Of course, this is money they should've seen over sixty years ago. During the war, the Philippines was a U.S. commonwealth. The U.S. military promised full veterans benefits to Filipinos who volunteered to fight. More than 250,000 joined. Then, in 1946, President Truman signed the Rescission Act, taking that promise away.

Seems like an easy move to rectify this injustice, but it's taken years and years. Many of the veterans are aging, ailing or have already passed. According to the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, only about 15,000 of these troops are still alive today. It's about time they were treated with the dignity they deserve.