WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Wednesday, October 17th, the Obama Administration launched an Interagency Working Group to analyze the process by which Filipino veterans demonstrate eligibility for compensations. After hearing from many Filipino veterans who have been impeded from filing claims or believe their claims were improperly denied, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) in collaboration with the Office of Management and Budget launched this Interagency Working Group, which is comprised of officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs, The Department of Defense, and the National Archives and Record Administration.
Chris Lu, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary and Co-Chair of the WHIAAPI, posted the following in a White House blog, “Filipino Americans have been an important part of our nation’s diverse history. Since their first documented arrival in Morro Bay, California in October 1587, Filipino Americans have made remarkable contributions to every sector of American life, including government, business, and the military.”
For decades, Filipino veterans and advocates have fought to ensure that these veterans receive full compensation for serving with American soldiers during World War II.
“I have worked closely with some of the remaining WWII veterans. They are an aging group which makes it so important that their struggles for equity are given immediate and careful attention. We thank the Obama Administration and our members in Congress who have been champions of their rights and benefits,” said Genevieve Jopanda, National Co-Chair of KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress.
In 1941, more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms and later fought under the American flag during World War II.
Alberto Saldajeno, a 92-year-old Filipino WWII Veteran and board member of the San Francisco Veterans Equity Center commented, “For the sake of justice, it is only proper that these applications are being reconsidered to give these veterans the promise that was due to them.”
It is clear that President Obama recognizes Filipino veterans’ contributions during WWII. KAYA applauds President Obama and the Obama Administration for continuing to honor Filipino WWII veterans through the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and through this launch of the Interagency Working Group.
About KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress
KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress was founded in January 2009, to build a political infrastructure to ensure that the Filipino American community is represented in the electoral process and governance. KAYA was born from the Filipinos for Obama Campaign during the 2008 Presidential election. KAYA’s mission is to mobilize the Filipino American community and build partnerships to increase our electoral power, advocate policies that affect our community, and develop leaders to represent us at every level of government.