GMA PLEDGED TO ASK BUSH FOR PASSAGE OF U.S. LEGISLATION FOR FILIPINO VETERANS

MALACANANG, October 18, 2003  (from OPS) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has pledged to ask US President George W. Bush for a further commitment to US legislation (H.R. 667 and S. 68) that provides for equitable benefits to Philippine-based World War II veterans, according to the American Coalition for Filipino War Veterans (ACFV).

The bills seek to provide 21,000 Filipino WWII veterans living in the country the same benefits received by 8,000 US-based veterans.

This is one of the points President Macapagal-Arroyo and President Bush are expected to take up in their one-on-one session tomorrow at Malacañang.

During the President’s state visit to the United States in May, President Bush promised to support US legislation increasing benefits for the Filipino war veterans.

In July, the US House of Representatives passed President Bush’s requested legislation, HR 2297 and HR 2357 for full medical care for the US-based Filipino veterans with a $19 million annual budget. The Senate Veteran Affairs Committee passed their version in September. Bush is expected to sign the bills by November 11, Veterans Day.

Two dozen leaders of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and ACFV are in town to welcome Bush and thank President Macapagal-Arroyo for their support for equitable Filipino WWII veterans’ benefits and a stronger mutual partnership.

NaFFAA is chaired by corporate CEO Loida Nicolas-Lewis.

"The ACFV has over 4,000 members, all of whom wish to thank President Macapagal-Arroyo for her consistent support. The father of President Bush is a veteran also, that is why this issue of expanding benefits for Filipino WWII veterans is very close to his heart as he has indicated in his letters to us assuring us of his support," said executive director Eric Lachica of AFCV which has been at the forefront of efforts in the US to work for added benefits to Filipino war veterans.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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