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Friday, July 27, 2012

Pinoy WW2 vets find new ally in NY City Council

NEW YORK, NY - A resolution calling on the US Congress and President Obama to sign the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011 was introduced at the New York City Council.
Daniel Dromm, City Council Member from Queens, introduced the resolution that pushes for HR 210, The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act, that would grant full benefits to Filipino veterans who fought alongside US soldiers during World War II.
"If you fight for our country, if you sacrificed your own lives for our country, it's deserving of equal recognition and dignity and support for those veterans as well," said Dromm.
But the Recission Act of 1946 took away the recognition of the US military service of Filipino World War II veterans.
Of the 66 allied nationalities who fought for the US, only Filipinos were not recognized as full American veterans.
Dromm said he knows what it's like to be disenfranchised and discriminated as an openly gay city councilman. He said his past experiences prompted him to support the cause.
"So I know what this thing of discrimination feels like and so when I hear situations where people have been discriminated against, left out, not acknowledged for, I know what it feels like and that's what my main motivation for wanting to create justice for all people in this country," he said.
Supporters for the Justice for Filipino American Veterans say its about time New York City help war veterans.
"As of right now, there are 94 co-sponsors for HR 210 in the US Congress and at this point medyo mabagal. As you know, there's a change of political climate of spending and such so its such a really good time for the New York City Council to pass this resolution," said Chevy Evangelista of the Ugnayan Filipino Youth Group.
Linda Oalican of the Damayan Migrant Organization meanwhile said, "Ang magagawa ng mga Pilipino dito is mag-organize and talk about this issue. This issue is about us. Its about the dignity of our people and especially us here in the US".
If more city council members get on board with the resolution, Dromm said a hearing may soon be conducted for Filipino veterans before the resolution may be put to vote on the city council floor.

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