Daily Archives: November 12, 2014

Justice and Equity, Now!

JFAV Statement for Veterans Day, 2014

November 11, 2014

Justice and Equity, Now!

We,in the Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) a national alliance of veterans, widows, youth and students as well as community organizations in the United States have been marching for the last 14 years for our veterans and their widows and relatives every Veterans Day, November 11 of the year.
For the last three years were marched in Hollywood to remind America of their broken promises and unfulfilled pledges to our veterans and relatives.
World War II

Our struggle started with the American occupation of the Philippines in August 13, 1898. When the Philippines became a colony of the United States, we were drawn into a war of not our own choosing.
Heroism in World War II

On July 26, 1941, six months before the war, US President Franklin D.Roosevelt conscripted the 120,000 army of the commonwealth of thePhilippines into the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) making the Philippines, the US Garrison outside of the US mainland.

Heroism in World War II

We have to defend our country against the Japanese invasion that came on December 8, 1941 when the Japanese planes bombed the Philippines, the same time they bombed Peal harbor on December 7, 1941 in Hawaii.
During the war, USAFFE surrendered in 1942 but not the Filipino people .They waged a three year long war of resistance ,kept their faith in America and rallied again under the US colors and liberated the Philippines from the Japanese yoke.

The whole Philippines was affected by this war. No Filipino family was spared. Every family had a relative who died fighting the enemy, was tortured, suffered deprivations because of the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

Role of the Filipina Women

More prominently the Filipina women bore the brunt of the suffering. They were left behind to tend for the family when the men were away fighting as guerillas during those terrible years and again during the liberation as soldiers fighting to drive away
the invaders.

The Filipinas did not only joined the resistance movement as guerillas but also as fighters, nurses, intelligence couriers and service providers for the wounded and convalescing men and women with the guerilla army and the army of liberation.

Even after the war, the Filipina women took care of the veteran and their children when more than 35,000 of them came to the United States in 1990′s during the twilight of their years. They were of the forefront of the Filipino Veterans struggle for equity. They were excluded from the lump sum and other benefits.

For their military service , at least 250,000 USAFFE soldiers and guerillas were recognized by the US Army as American soldiers out of more than 450,000 men and women who fought in the Philippines making them eligible for veterans benefits.

Adding Insult to Injury

But six months later on February 18, 1946, the 79th US Congress declared their “military service inactive” and until now, 68 years later they remained unrecognized as American veterans. Out of the 66 nationalities who fought during the war, only the Filipinos were excluded from benefits and privileges they deserved.

To rub salt into the gaping wounds, the US Congress in 2008 did not pass the S 1315 that recognized the Filipino Veterans and that give them lifetime pensions but instead passed the American Reconstruction and Recovery Law of 2009 that gave them measly lump sum. They bail out the banks and the corporations first then give the proper benefits to our veterans and widows they deserve.

But the most insulting about this law is that out of the 43,000 Filipino veterans who applied, only 18,000 were granted and more than 52% 0r 25,000 of them were denied their benefits.
Adding insult to injury, the ARRA law excluded 60,000 Filipina widows and relatives who were in the United States and in the Philippines from receiving these benefits.

Fight Racism and Racial Discrimination

This is the bare and brazen face of racism and racial discrimination that the Filipino-American community suffer in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

This is the reason why we continue to lobby for equity and justice in the US Congress for the last 21 years. Why we march for the last 14 years. Why we will continue to struggle for equity and justice.

We are not only fighting for the benefits and rights of our Lolo’s and Lolas but also for the rights and dignity of our community. Until now, more than a year has passed, the Obama administration has not granted our demand for the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for our disaster stricken land, the Philippines.

Until now, the US Congress has not passed a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will right the wrongs under the broken immigration system that affects more than 12 million immigrants including the Filipinos in America.

We march for equity and justice and we will not stop until we get justice and equity for our Lolos and Lolas and for community.

Signed: Alliance-Philippines (AJLLP), People’s CORE, S4PACE, Fiipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA),AWARE-San Francisco, JFAV-San Francisco, JFAV-San Diego, JFAV-Hawaii, ANSWER-LA, Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC). Philippinetown Inc (PTI), Knights of Rizal -HFT, Burlington School, HIFI Neighborhood Council (HFNC), FACLA Youth and Cultural Group,

Youth and Student Groups: Pro People Youth (Kabataang makaBayan (KmB), Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change, AF3IRM, Kappa Psi Epsilon, KMB SessionsX LA, SCPASA, Kababayan Alliance of UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara Kapatirang Pilipino, PASK, CalPoly Pomona Barkada, CSU LB Pilipino American Coalition (PAC), XPO. TDB Boys, Samahang Pilipino of UCLA,Pilipinos For Community Health (PCH), USCTroy Philippines, UCR Katipunan, CSUN FASA, Pasadena City College (PCC) Tropa, Fe Koons, NUJP-USA.UC San Diego, KAMALAYAN, UC Fullerton PASA Kaibigan.