Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Applauds Inclusion of Benefits for Filipino Veterans in Stimulus Bill

February 2009

JWV has repeatedly fought for benefits equity for Filipino veterans who fought alongside US troops in WWII. PNC Robert M. Zweiman, Chairman of the JWV Coordinating Committee, and himself a veteran of service in the Philippines, has championed the cause of these veterans as a priority for the Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV).

Both Philippine army regulars and guerilla fighters were ordered to serve under the US Army by President Roosevelt in 1941 when Japan invaded areas under American control. The Filipino fighters fought bravely against the Japanese alongside the American soldiers, suffered casualties along with them, and expected to receive the same benefits at the conclusion of the War.

These hopes for equal benefits were dashed in 1946 with the signing of bills that denied them both citizenship and most benefits. Since the enactment of these post-War cost-cutting measures our government has continued to deny to these brave warriors any of the benefits that they had earned through their gallant wartime service.

Time has taken its toll on the veterans of WWII, and of the approximately 300,000 Filipinos who fought under the American flag, fewer than 18,000 are alive today. While the JWV had hoped for benefits parallel to those received by their American comrades-in-arms, the JWV is pleased that this miscarriage of justice has been addressed in the recently passed economic stimulus bill signed this week by President Obama.

Under this bill, Filipino veterans who are American citizens will receive a one-time payment of $15,000, while veterans who are Filipino citizens will receive a one-time payment of $9,000. While the JWV had hoped that these brave soldiers would have received the compensation they had deserved at the conclusion of the War, we are pleased that the remaining veterans are finally being recognized and compensated for their service.

 

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