Tardy war compensation comes at the sunset of WWII Philippine heroes

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The $787 billion spending package signed by US Pres. Barack Obama on February 17, 2009 has a special goody for the Filipino World War II veterans. After a long-drawn campaign to get compensation for fighting in the American-Japanese war, an estimated 15,000 war heroes will have a part of the $198 million earmarked by the US government.

“Only 15,000 surviving Filipino and Filipino-American WWII veterans whose names are in the Revised Reconstructed Guerrilla Roster (RRGR) of 1948 are qualified to receive the tax-free lump sum payment. The RRGR is kept in the state of Missouri although certified true copies are available in other official sites.”—Malaya (02/16/09, Ilustre, J)

The US Embassy in Manila is preparing to process applications next week that will give $15,000 for each elderly survivor (average age: 85 years) who is a US citizen and $9,000 for the non-US citizen. The cash reward doesn’t include the widows, children and dependents of veterans.

Of the 250,000 who fought with the US forces, about 6% (15,000) lived long enough be eligible for benefits. This opens the heart-breaking memories of the suffering Filipinos went through during the war and the injustice caused by the delay in the granting of compensation for the veterans.

Though the tardy award seems a victory of justice, one can sadly recall the thousands who valiantly fought, offered their lives, and died without seeing the liberation of the country. The horror of Bataan March must be an indelible reminder for all Filipinos. Let us pause and remember the heroism of those who died without seeing the fruits of the war effort. For them, we must pay respects and be eternally grateful. (Photo Credit: wtop) =0=

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