Filipino war veterans deprived of $3.2B in US benefits

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Filipino World War II veterans would have received $3.2 billion worth of benefits from the United States had it not been for the Rescission Act of 1946, which effectively dashed promises held out as they fought alongside American troops six decades ago.

“According to the Office of US Veterans Affairs in Washington, the US government saved $3.2 billion by passing the Rescission Act in 1946,” Defense Undersecretary for Veterans Affairs Ernesto Carolina told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday.

Carolina said that after the war, more than 400,000 Filipino veterans were applying for benefits from the US government.

Of the figure, more than 240,000 were recognized as legitimate war veterans in the “Missouri List” which was prepared by the administrative unit of the US Armed Forces based in Missouri.

There are now only 18,155 surviving Filipino war veterans, some 6,000 of them living in the United States, according to the Missouri list. Their average age, according to Carolina, is 80 years old and above.

Carolina said that for the Filipino veterans, the fight for an equity bill in the United States was, more than anything, for the restoration of their dignity and due recognition for their role in America’s war against Japan.

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