Filipino-American World War II Soldiers Recognition Project
A message from the PSHS President
November 30, 2016
Members of the Philippine Scout Heritage Society:
Dear PSHS Members:
Today, at 5:28 Pacific Eastern Time, the House of Representatives approved S. 1555, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, passed by the Senate via unanimous consent in July. This is an historic and triumphant period for all our veterans, their loved ones and for America. Congratulations to all for their dedication, hard work and commitment to make this happen!
We anticipate that President Obama will sign the bill before the end of December.
Meanwhile, we still have much work ahead of us. Specifically, we must continue to identify and vet eligible veterans and submit their names for the National Registry of Veterans, a list being compiled by the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP).
Eligibility requirements outlined in the bill indicate that the veteran:
--served during the period of July 26, 1941 and ending December 31, 1946
--was on active duty status under United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE)
--within the Philippine Commonwealth Arm, the Philippine Scouts, the Philippine Constabulary, Recognized Guerilla units, the New Philippine Scouts, the First Filipino Infantry Regiment, the Second Filipino Infantry Battalion (Separate) or the First Reconnaissance Battalion OR
--commanding or serving in a unit as described above as a United States military officer or enlisted soldier
We urge everyone to submit these completed forms no later than December 30, 2016. If the veteran has no current documentation, please encourage the veteran or family member to at least submit the form so that the name may be cross checked with the lists provided by the Philippine Embassy and/or the Department of Veterans Affairs. Click here for the form and instructions for submission is listed on the bottom of the form.
Our project efforts also include continuous fundraising to cover the costs of the bronze replica duplicates for our veterans as well as the Education and Awareness Project component that we are developing. To that end, donations are encouraged and accepted and the FilVetREP donor form is attached. Please send your donation directly to the address listed on the form and designate the FilVetREP region you belong to.
There will be regional events surrounding the Congressional Gold Medal award, so please be sure to check the FilVetREP website for more detailed information. I will also provide updates on the PSHS website as these become available.
Meanwhile, we must continue to push forward with our efforts as the work is not yet done. Thank you/marming salamat from the bottom of my heart for participating in this amazing labor of love for our veterans.
Brigadier General (Retired/United States Army)
Major General Tony Taguba (USA, Ret.) leads the fight to get the honor and accolades WWII Filipino-American veterans truly deserve. One of the goals of the project is obtaining the Congressional Gold Medal for their service to our country. The PSHS is proud to support this endeavor.
See Maj. Gen. Taguba’s interview on the project:
» Click here to learn more about Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project.
Update on the Congressional Gold Medal Legislation
From John Melgrito of FilVetRep, 10/08/2016
Having done our due diligence by securing 306 cosponsors (more than the two thirds required), the fate of HR 2737 is now in the hands of the House senior leadership.
This basically means that in order for the bill to pass and forwarded to the White House for President Obama’s signature, Speaker Paul Ryan and eight other House senior leaders must agree to move the legislation forward for a House vote.
Since Congress is on recess for the election campaign, we don’t expect action on this legislation until they return on November 15.
In the meantime, we can help move this administrative matter along by directing our outreach (through letters, emails, phone calls, personal visits, tweets) to Speaker Ryan and the House senior leadership, urging them to get it passed before the current legislative period ends this year.
Congressional engagement from the grassroots must also continue, focusing on those who have not signed as cosponsors, in order to keep this issue alive in the public arena.
The FILVETREP executive committee members in Washington DC area are actively engaged with Congressional Staffers of Representatives Gabbard and Heck – lead sponsors of the bill, and requested them to meet with their colleagues. We also met with other staff members of select cosponsors during the recess period to do the same. While actions are ongoing at the national level, we must do our part at the regional and district levels to keep the attention and momentum toward Congressional passage. We cannot afford to stop our combined action or risks having the bill lose its priority when Congress return from recess in November.
Listed below are the names of key House senior leaders and their phone numbers and Twitter handles:
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Twitter: @SpeakerRyan, Phone: (202) 225-0600, Fax: (202) 225-2012, Toll-Free: (888) 909-RYAN (7926)
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Twitter: @GOPLeader, Phone: (202) 225-2915, Fax: (202) 225-2908
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Twitter: @NancyPelosi, Wash DC phone: (202) 225-4965, San Francisco phone: (415) 556-4862
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) Twitter: @WhipHoyer, Wash DC Phone - (202) 225-4131, Fax - (202) 225-4300
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La) Twitter: @GOPWhip, Wash DC Phone: (202) 225-3015, Hammond LA office Phone: (985) 340-2185
Republican Conf. Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa) Twitter: @cathymcmorris), Wash, D.C.: 202-225-2006 , Spokane: (509) 353-2374
Republican Policy Com. Chair Luke Messer (R-Ind) Twitter: @RepLukeMesser), Wash, DC: 202-225-3021, Muncie, IN Phone: 765-747-5566
Asst. Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) Twitter: @Clyburn, Wash, DC: (202) 225-3315, Kingstree, S.C. Phone: (843) 355-1211
Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif) Twitter: @RepBecerra, Wash D.C.: 202-225-6235, Los Angeles Tel. (213) 481-1425
Suggested text for your emails:
We are encouraged by the overwhelming support of 306 co-sponsors in the House for HR 2737, the bill that would award the Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino and American veterans who served in World War II. The Senate had already passed the companion bill in July. We respectfully urge you to approve HR 2737 now so that our veterans, who have waited for 72 years, will finally earn recognition for their service and sacrifice. We are calling on you to pass this bill before the current legislative session ends this year. Thank you.
BOILERPLATE TWITTER MESSAGE: Pass HR 2737 @SpeakerRyan for #FilipinoVets who served w/ US in WWII. They deserve Medal for heroism.Pls retweet.bit.ly/2cSxOiv.
If you're going to tweet: wait a couple of minutes in between tweets because if you tweet fast (copy, replace handle, send) Twitter will think you're a bot and it will stop sending your tweets after a while.
Don't forget to tweet or retweet, and ask your followers and friends to do the same. If we only resonate with ONE rep, that's ONE more supporter that we can count on.
To obtain national recognition of the Filipino-American WWII soldiers for their wartime service to the United States from July 1941 to December 1946.
To create a national campaign to:
- Conduct research on the Filipino-American soldier experience during WWII.
- Raise national awareness on their wartime service and sacrifice in defending the Philippines and the United States.
- Request an act of Congress approving the Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino-American WWII Soldiers.
Factors to Support Recognition
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order on July 26, 1941 ordering the Philippine Commonwealth Army, Philippine Scouts, and Philippine Constabulary placed under the command of the Commander, U.S. Army Forces Far East to defend the Philippines and United States.
- The fall of Bataan in April 1942, and Corregidor in May 1942 led to the capture of over 72,000 American and Filipino troops--Bataan Death March.
- Remnants of the USAFFE forces and Filipino civilians organized into recognized guerrilla units led by U.S. and Philippine Army Officers.
- U.S. Congress passed the Rescission Acts of 1946, taking back full benefits promised to Filipino soldiers.
- Since 1946, 17 different partial benefits were provided to the Filipino-American WWII soldiers and families.
- No formal declaration to recognize the Filipino-American WWII Soldiers for their sacrifice and loyal service during World War II.
- Over 200,000 Filipino soldiers fought in WWII. An estimated 16,000 to 17,000 soldiers remain in the U.S. and Philippines.
Groups formally recognized by Congress with the Congressional Gold Medal for WWII Service
- Tuskegee Airmen
- Montford Marines
- Navajo Code Talkers
- Women Air Service Pilots
- Japanese-American Nisei Soldiers
- Form a national project organizing group: Already based in Washington, D.C.
- Conduct academic and historical research: Being led by the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland (underway).
- To provide proof the Filipino-American WWII Soldiers fought the Japanese Imperial Forces, and set the conditions for U.S. and Allied Forces to liberate the Philippines in October 1944.
- Establish a National Veterans Coalition Network as a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-partisan, educational organization - PENDING
- Seek Congressional and government support - Requiring U.S. Senate and House sponsors, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Army, Department of Interior and the Philippine Government.
- Conduct national engagement campaign in the U.S. and the Philippines.
- Raise funds and resources to support the mission.
Project Desired Outcomes
PHASE 1 - U.S. Congress issues a national recognition proclamation and approves the Congressional Gold Medal for the Filipino-American soldiers who served during WWII. This will be followed by a formal presentation and series of events in Washington, D.C.
PHASE 2 - Plan for a national exhibition of the Congressional Gold Medal co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution.
PHASE 3 - Establish an educational program co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and for use in secondary and elementary schools.
- Create leadership and program structure to spearhead the recognition project.
- Engage members of Congress to sponsor and pass the legislation for the Congressional Gold Medal. (Ref: H.R. 111 sponsored by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa with 54 sponsors, Jan. 3, 2013).
- Submit IRS application to establish a non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt organization.
- Design a national public/community information campaign plan for the project.
- Create a national fundraising plan.
- Establish a U.S. and Philippine repository / roster of veterans and families of those affected by the recognition project.
Last modified: 01-Dec-2016