By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent.
President Obama has signed a bill into law that awards the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino and Filipino American World War II war veterans.
The bill sponsored by Rep Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Mazie Hirono, both Democrats from Hawaii, honors the contributions of 260,000 Filipino veterans. Only 18,000 of them remain alive, according to Gabbard.
“These loyal and courageous soldiers, suffered, fought, with many giving up their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war,” said Gabbard.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor from Congress.
“After enduring 75 years of injustice and humiliation, our Filipino World War II veterans regained their honor and dignity when Congress passed the Congressional Gold Medal Award — a historic bill President Obama signed into law today,” said retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba.
The bill, in part, is in response to past acts by the U.S. which denied promised U.S. benefits to these veterans. Although some of those veterans have in recent years recovered those benefits, others continue the struggle.
Both Gabbard and Hirono have bills pending to rectify that.
“The Filipino veterans of World War II overcame many challenges in their fight for compensation, family reunification, and verification of wartime service,” said Hirono.
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