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Filipino American Associations Write To Speaker Pelosi

July 23, 2008

At Midfield has received a copy of the letter written to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking final action on the long pending bill for Veterans Benefits Act for Filipinos who fought side by side with Americans in World War II.

Here is that letter verbatim:

National Federation of Filipino American Associations
Washington DC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2008
Contact: Jon Melegrito, Tel. 202-361-0296

NaFFAA Urges House Vote on Veterans Bill

Washington, D.C. July 23 – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) today urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send S. 1315 to the House floor for a vote before Congress adjourns for its August recess.
Noting that “time is running out for our aging veterans,” NaFFAA National Chair Alma Kern called on the House leadership “to act decisively” because “next year may be too late.”
In an open letter to the Speaker, Kern expressed “the growing frustration among our grassroots supporters over the perceived inaction that may doom passage of the equity bill this year.” Kern added that the Filipino American community is doing its utmost to enlist more supporters for the measure, and “we remain confident that a bipartisan consensus will prevail.”
Kern also pointed out that July 26 marks the anniversary of President Roosevelt’s calling the Filipino World War II veterans into service under U.S. command. “Our veterans and our community look to your leadership to seize this historic moment and make good America’s promise to these veterans,” Kern wrote.
The full text of the letter is reprinted below.

Hon. Nancy Pelosi
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C.

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

We can’t thank you enough for your consistent and steadfast support of our Filipino World War II veterans’ cause. Over the years, you’ve always championed the passage of equity bills that would restore our veterans’ rightful status and benefits.
Your personal assurances to our veterans at the town hall meeting in Congress last May that you would like to see S. 1315 voted on by the House have strengthened our community’s resolve to make this happen this year.
Over the past few weeks, we have intensified our efforts to call on our representatives to vote for this measure. We are heartened by the momentum of support that is building around this bill. We remain confident that a bipartisan consensus will prevail.
& nbsp; Time is running out for our aging veterans, Madam Speaker. Even as we step up our action alerts, we are concerned that the House under your able leadership may not act quickly enough to see this bill through. There is growing frustration among our grassroots supporters over the perceived inaction – justified or not – that may doom passage of the equity bill this year.
We are doing our utmost best, Madam Speaker, to enlist more co-sponsors and ensure victory for S. 1315. And you can rest assured that NaFFAA and the more than 3 million Filipinos, who now live and work in this great nation of ours, are looking up to you to right this wrong and give our veterans their long-awaited day of redemption after 60 long years.
Most of us are the sons, daughters and relatives of these veterans. They courageously put their lives on the line so that America would soon enjoy the blessings of freedom, liberty and democracy.
Madam Speaker, we urge you to act decisively and call for a House vote before the Summer recess. We imp lore you to do so now, Madam Speaker, because next year may be too late.
July 26 marks the anniversary of President Roosevelt’s calling the Filipino World War II soldiers into service under U.S. command. Our veterans and our community look to your leadership to seize this historic moment and make good America’s promise to these veterans.
Thank you.

Sincerely,

Alma Q. Kern, National Chair

The appeal is clear as day and this writer adds his small voice in support of NAFFA.

The photo montage below, I hope, captures the role Filipinos played in that struggle:

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