Philippines Honors Filipino Veterans in Guam

Apr. 24, 2007

MANILA –Consul Raquel Solano of the Philippine Consulate General in Agana, Guam reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Consulate held a luncheon ceremony in honor of Guam-based Filipino World War II veterans at the Coral Room of the Guam Plaza Hotel on 21 April 2007.

Organized by the Filipino Community of Guam (FCG) in coordination with the Consulate, the event was attended by Senators Jim Espaldon and Tina Barnes of the 29th Guam Legislature, Mr. Walter Haiths, field director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Guam Office, FCG officers, the veterans and their families, and representatives from the media.

In his speech, Mr. Haiths urged the group to continue to push for the grant of full U.S. veteran status, which was promised to them several decades ago by the U.S. government. He also clarified that the Americans do not owe the Filipino veterans, as the grant of U.S. veteran status is not a benefit but a right that those concerned have earned and should assert. Referring to commonly issued statements by veterans, Haiths added, They say they worked hand in hand with the Americans, but actually, they defended most of the American soldiers. They were in front of the American soldiers during the invasion of Bataan.

In her message, Consul Solano said, There is no greater way to honor the veterans than to preserve and protect the freedom for which they offered their lives. She urged the group to help strengthen and enhance the institutions, values and practices that promote the free and democratic way of life. She also asked the FCG to use its official and informal linkages with individuals and organizations, both private and government, in order to secure support for the passage of the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007.

Philippine Scouts in Guam chapter secretary Frank Honorario stated that while the number of veterans dwindle each year, it is still as important to continue the push for veterans benefits. My father was a scout who died without receiving benefits. I hope that the proposed legislation on veterans benefits will finally be passed, so as to enable the U.S. to fulfill the promise it made to the Philippine soldiers who fought alongside the U.S. military during the war, he added.

Senators Espaldon and Barnes presented a legislative resolution to the veterans and gave a message of appreciation for the role of the Filipino veterans in promoting the cause of freedom and independence.

Gift packages were presented by the FCG officers to the veterans.

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