Just in the nick of time

Anthony Chua

After almost a lifetime of waiting, which have already cost lives of the intrepid and loyal veterans, the US Senate, in a 96-1 vote, passed, April 24, the S. 1315 or the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act, that will right 65 years of injustice of the United States government to the Filipino troops who gallantly fought with the Americans during World War 2.

This is sweet victory to Filipino veterans who had been deprived of the benefits that the US government was giving to veterans of other countries. This is a day of recognition to the intrepid souls who fought for a cause of a foreign nation and for the survival of their motherland. And this is the day that, at long last, the United States Senate has placed Filipino veterans on an equal footing with those of other countries.

The battle has been won in the Senate; the next will be in the House of Representatives. What the brave Filipino warriors, many of them have already passed away (including one of our columnists), will pray for is for the House to forward the bill to President Bush for signing. The US Chief Executive promised his Filipino counterpart that once the bill reaches his office he will approve it swiftly.

So, with the Senate’s overwhelming support to the Filipino veterans, it won’t take much time until they will enjoy the benefits that they should have had decades ago. Unlike in the native Philippines where ratification of laws is prone to be delayed depending on the political whims of lawmakers at least they are expecting from a body of respectable solons ready to give their prompt approval.

The only resistance that the surviving veterans are about to face is the veil of prejudice that could distort the way the congressmen see the truth that would lead them judge unfairly. But with the almost unanimous approval of senators, they most likely be urged to follow suit.

Just in the nick of time before their honorable life ends, our lolos and lolas who have been fighting all their lives to defend the dignity, honor, and survival of the Philippines, of the United States and of themselves, was finally recognized and appropriately rewarded by the US Senate.

To our World War 2 Veteran kababayans: Congratulations! Saludo kami sa inyo!

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