Filipino American youths readies for annual Hollywood march for Vets

Filipino American youths mass up at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar St. for the annual march, which has become known as the Fil-Am Hollywood March, to seek justice for Filipino World War II veterans. The photo was taken in November 2016. Photo © Abner Galino

THE Rescission Act of 1946 took away from Filipino-American veterans and their families the benefits, rights, privileges and recognition that they deserved and since then the wait for the government of the United States of America to rectify the monumental mistake has been on, 71 years now to be exact.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Eddy Gana , one of the prime movers of the Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV), which has been responsible for the successful yearly marches along Hollywood boulevard.

The march for justice for Filipino veterans, slated on Veterans Day (November 10, 2107), would cover 1.2 miles of route and would start at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar St.

“The number of veterans and widows dwindles and the generational gap widens every year. Let us remember the veterans’ courage and sacrifices by recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March where 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war were forced to endure 100 km of severe abuse and torture,” JFAV said in the statement.

The 17th “Hollywood march,” as always, is expected to draw big numbers Filipino American youths from various organizations.

JFAV said the marchers would voice out the following demands:

1. The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act must be passed by the congressional veterans committee immediately and moved to the House or Senate accordingly.

Since 1993, this will be the subject of the reconciled bill that the veterans want. That is, a single unified reconciled bill must be signed into a law in 2018. Filipino veterans’ wartime services should be recognized and deemed as active service.

Eliminate the distinction between the Regular or “Old” Philippine Scouts, “New “ Philippine Scouts and the remaining three groups of veterans: Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, Recognized Guerrilla Forces, and New Philippine Scouts.

2. Survivors and children of Filipino veterans should be eligible for the Survivors Pension Benefit otherwise known as the Death Pension like the families of all U.S. veterans. In addition, veterans should be eligible for pension for non-service-connected disability like all other U.S. veterans.

3. Lump sum under ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) should only be an additional benefit and there will be no quit claim attached to their benefits. All additional benefits should not be taxable and their other benefits should remain.

Written and online petitions will be made available prior to the march and on-site.

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Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) is a nationwide alliance of Filipino World War II Veterans organizations, youth, students, and community advocates based in the United States.

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