Heller, Hanabusa Introduce Bill to Help Filipino Veterans Receive Benefits
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) this week introduced the Filipino Veterans Promise Act. This bill establishes a process for Filipinos who fought alongside the U.S. military during World War II to document their heroic service so they can receive the benefits they earned and deserve.
“Nevada is home to brave Filipino veterans who served during World War II and have never been properly recognized for the sacrifices they made on our behalf. On each occasion that I have sat down and met with these men, I have been struck by their humility, love for our country, and selflessness. No doubt, they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. I look forward to working with Representative Hanabusa to move this bipartisan legislation forward to ensure these veterans obtain the compensation they are owed,” said Senator Heller.
“When we needed allies in Asia during World War II, the Filipino people did not hesitate. They volunteered to fight and die alongside American soldiers, and we promised them the same rights and benefits enjoyed by our troops in exchange for their sacrifice. These brave men served the American cause with honor, yet we have failed to fulfill our obligation. Too many veterans died feeling that the United States abandoned them, and the resentment lingers with their families. This bipartisan bill gives Filipino veterans the opportunity to verify their service with military historians in order to receive the benefits they fought for. It calls for complete examinations of their records, while providing proper oversight to the process. It is an important step in settling a long-due debt. I would like to thank Senator Heller for his leadership, and for joining me in ensuring we make every effort to fulfill our promise to these courageous men,” said Representative Hanabusa.
After World War II, the U.S. Army created the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster of 1948, also known as the “Missouri List,” based on individuals who came forward after the war to receive health care. This list has been used by the military to verify those who served alongside U.S. troops in the Philippines. It is possible that some Filipinos who fought were not added to this list and could be improperly denied benefits.
This legislation enables these Filipino veterans to work with a military historian to procure the necessary documentation that will then make it easier for them to receive veterans’ benefits. Senator Heller first introduced this legislation (S. 3530) in September 2012.
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