December 15, 1935
Under the advice of General Douglas MacArthur, the Philippines passed the National Defense Act. In addition to providing a basic professional army of 16,000 men it compels every Filipino male over 10 years of age to undergo a course of military training and thenceforth obliged to serve some time in active military service. The Philippines, under the rule of America, drafted an army of roughly 500,000 Filipino men within the span of less than 10 years.
July 26, 1941
President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Military Order calling into active service of the United States Armed Forces all organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.
The U.S. War Department immediately formed the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). The unit was made up of the US-Philippine Military Forces of the Commonwealth Army, Guerrilla Units, New Philippine Scouts and such other designated forces with General Douglas MacArthur as the Commanding General.
The U.S. Congress appropriated $269 million for such purposes to be made available to the Philippine Commonwealth as authorized by the Commanding General.
March 20, 1942
The U.S. Senate passed S. 2387, which acted to equalize pay rates for all U.S. military personnel, including the Philippines.
A total of 66 countries were inducted as allies of the United States during World War II.
March 27, 1942 (Amendment to the Nationality Act of 1940)
U.S. Congress amended the act to allow Filipino Veterans to become naturalized U.S. citizens, as rewards for their service to the U.S.
April 9, 1942 (Bataan Death March)
The U.S. surrendered the Philippines to Japan, in effect, leaving over 75,000 USAFFE soldiers and U.S. soldiers to a death march in Bataan (Central Luzon). Meanwhile, Filipina/o soldiers and civilians continued to resist the Japanese forces.
June 22, 1944
U.S. Congress passed the GI Bill of Rights, providing full benefits to all who served, irrespective of race, color or nationality. Under this law, among the 66 countries that were given full benefits, only the Filipinos were excluded.
February 18, 1946 (Rescission Act)
U.S. Congress passed the Supplemental Surplus Appropriations Rescission Act. The act mandated that the service performed by Filipino Veterans under the U.S. flag during World War II, “shall not be deemed active service for purposes of any law of the United States conferring rights, privileges, or benefits” except those who were maimed, or separated from active service for physical disability.
May 27, 1946
U.S. Congress passed a Second Rescission Act, denying Filipino Veterans benefits to the New Philippine Scouts, who were taken by the War Department as members of the regular army, but were treated like Commonwealth Army Veterans under the Veteran`s benefit program.
Five decades of waiting = Five decades of injustice.
October 26, 1990 (Sec. 405 – Immigration Act)
U.S. Congress passed Sec. 405 which allowed Naturalization for those who served honorably in an active duty status under the command of United States Armed Forces in the Far east (USAFEE), or within the Philippine Army, the Philippine Scouts, or recognized Guerrilla Units at any time during the period beginning September 1, 1939 and ending December 31, 1946.
U.S. Veteran benefits were not included in this legislation.
Filipino Veterans Equity Act (EQUITY BILL)
A bill re-introduced in 1998 by Representatives Bob Filner (D-CA) and Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) in the U.S. Congress that seeks to correct more than 50 years of injustice to Filipino Veterans of World War II. If approved, the Equity Bill would amend the Rescission Act of 1946, now Sec. 107 of Title 38 of the U.S. Code, and thereby equalize veteran benefits between American and Filipino soldiers who were U.S. nationals during the war.
Several versions of the Equity Bill has been introduced and reintroduced in Congress since January 1989.
- October 17, 1996
President Clinton signed a proclamation honoring Filipino Veterans for their service in World War II in Los Angeles, California.
- July 22, 1998
The Veterans Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives held oversight hearings on the Filipino Veterans Equity Act.
The Equity Bill was 9 votes shy of passing in 1998.
The passage of the SSI Extension Bill is NOT the Equity Bill.
The President of the United States signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, authorizing the release of a one-time, lump-sum payment to eligible World War II (WWII) Philippine Veterans.
December 14, 2016
The Filipino Veterans of World War ll Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 passed into public law. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor. The President pro tempore of the Senate (Sen. Orrin Hatch) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Rep. Paul Ryan) will make arrangements for the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino Veterans of World War ll in recognition of their service during World War ll.
October 25, 2017
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Paul Ryan, presented the Congressional Gold Medal (the nation’s highest civilian honor) to Filipino Veterans of World War II in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol in Washington D.C.
- As of October 1, 2017, there were 11 (reopened) FVEC claims pending.
- As of October 1, 2017, 42,755 applications were processed: 9,310 approved for $15,000 based Veterans, 9,670 approved for $9,000, and 23,775 applications disapproved.
- To date, over $226 million has been awarded to eligible Filipino Veterans.
- As of October 1, 2017, the Manila RO has received more than 4,570 NODs on FVEC denials.