By Abner Galino
THE annual march that seeks justice for Filipino World War II veterans, which has been known as “Hollywood march for justice,” has returned to the historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.
The City of West Hollywood has refused to issue rally permit to the Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV), the prime mover of the yearly demonstration.
One of the leaders of JFAV leader Art Garcia said the city denied permit to the yearly event due to the supposed “chaos and traffic snarls” that it supposedly create in the areas where the rally passes through.
Despite the change in venue, the march still managed to draw out a large contingent of Filipino American youths, numbering around 300.
The marchers gathered in the morning at MacArthur Park on Wilshire Boulevard. The march snaked through Filipinotown streets and ended at the headquarters of the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) at Temple Street.
SIPA executive director Lyle del Mundo was among those who spoke during an hour-long program inside the SIPA compound.
Garcia said the return of the Justice for Filipino Veterans March at SIPA constituted a full historical cycle for the movement that started in the same place (SIPA headquarters) on December 16, 1998.
According to Garcia, JFAV continues to fight for military pension for the estimated 11,000 surviving veterans and the 68,000 wives and children of Filipino WW II veterans.
He added that return of Democrats to the leadership of the US House of Representatives could help the causes of Filipino veterans.
Despite the sacrifices offered by the Filipino fighters and by the Filipino people in general, the United States Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 that deprived the Filipino veterans of their rights and benefits as members of the United States armed forces.
Of the 66 countries that fought with the US during WW II, only Filipinos were stripped of benefits.
Last Saturday’s march was reinforced by members of the Kabataan maka-Bayan (KMB), Kababayan Alliance, Barkada Pomona, Kapatirang Pilipino-UC Santa Barbara, Tinig UCLA, Samahang Pilipino UCLA, Cal-State LA and Cal-State North Ridge.