Feature

The dishonor of having to beg

Filipino-Americans have finally succeeded in getting a bill before the U.S. Congress that would authorize payment to surviving Filipino veterans, but the bill should be dropped, said Jose Montelibano in the<strong> </strong><em>

Jose MontelibanoPhilippine Daily Inquirer

Filipinos have lost their pride, said Jose Montelibano. We have been reduced to begging Washington to give compensation to our World War II veterans. These men fought alongside Americans “with the liberation forces of Douglas MacArthur” to drive the Japanese out of the Philippines. Yet “America did not consider the sacrifice and courage of Filipino war veterans of equal value to those of their own.” Six decades after the war, Filipino-Americans have finally succeeded in getting a bill before the U.S. Congress that would authorize payment to surviving Filipino veterans. The bill should be dropped. Such payment would be humiliating, since it would be offered only grudgingly, after a huge lobbying effort, and far too late. If Filipinos had any pride, they would donate to a veterans’ fund themselves. Just $100 from every Filipino-American, plus a smaller sum from everyone in the Philippines, would ensure a comfortable retirement for WWII veterans. “Perhaps, instead of begging in the U.S. Congress, we can simply go into self-reflection, chew on our propensity to live in shame, and decide whether we wish to go on like this or seek the courage to be honorable.”

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