Filipino vets mark Bataan Day on eve of Senate hearing

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WASHINGTON -- Filipino World War II veterans marked Bataan Day by honoring their fallen comrades, on the eve of an important US Senate hearing that will tackle a counterpart bill granting full equity to surviving Filipino veterans.

Amid an unusual spring chill, a handful of aging World War II veterans gathered at the World War II Memorial to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan. On Wednesday, the US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hears the pros and cons of Senate Bill 57 –- a counterpart measure to the proposed Philippine Veterans Equity Bill –- that is said to be nearly ready to be reported out of the House veterans affairs committee...

Over 60,000 American and Filipino soldiers were captured following an epic rear-guard action against the numerically superior and better-supplied Japanese Imperial Army. More than 10,000 of them would later die in the infamous Bataan “Death March.” Fighting would continue for several more weeks until the last American bastion on Corregidor Island capitulated.

And yet after World War II, the U.S. Congress voted to virtually disenfranchise Filipinos who fought under the American flag. The Rescission Act of 1946 cut off benefits, which the current Congress is now trying to restore.

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