U.S. Congress recognizes Filipino WWII Veterans, passes congressional gold medal bill

MANILA — The Filipino Veterans of World War II (WWII) Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 passed the US Congress after the House of Representatives approved it on November 30.

The bill unanimously passed the Senate on July 13, 2016 and is now one step closer to becoming a law, pending President Barack Obama’s signature.

The Senate version (S.1555) was sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dean Heller (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI). The House version (H.R.2737) was sponsored by Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Joseph Heck (R-NV), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Mark Takai (D-HI), and Jackie Speier (D-CA). Both bills were introduced on June 11, 2015.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. lauds the passage of the bill.

“We welcome this good news and extend our appreciation to all the advocates and supporters of the bill at the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Our veterans’ sacrifice is one of the greatest stories of heroism, courage, and strength that our two countries have ever seen. From ordinary civilians to defenders of free nations, these men and women deserve our deepest respect and gratitude,” said Minister Patrick Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Philippine Embassy, in a statement.

“We also recognize the contributions of the Philippine Consulates General and Filipino communities across the United States, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FILVETREP) in the success of this joint campaign. We look forward to the final step of President Obama’s signing this bill into law,” Minister Chuasoto added.

The Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 seeks to award a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions in the United States, collectively, to 260,000 Filipino veterans in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II. PNA-northboundasia.com