BALITANG BETERANO: FACTS SPEAKS, CLEARLY STAND FOR ITSELF
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, June 1, 2004 by Col. (Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary-Veterans and Military Pension, Associate, PMA Class ‘ 44 - By popular request from our readership (veterans and their compulsory heirs) I am herewith publishing my previous arguments against the printed misinformation and conjectures from sources which are either insulting their nescience, or those posing as instant experts creating absurd and boring nuisance.
There are several enumerated issues which needed rebuttal shown below which should educate said perpetrators of offensive attacks which are silly and nonsensical. Nonetheless, promote useless skull-drudgery and divisiveness.
Therefore, hereunder are indisputable facts;
1. The Philippine Islands was held by the United States as a protectorate (colony), by virtue of and under provisions of the Treaty of Paris. (See: Treaty of Paris, 30 Stat. 1754, 1759 dated December 10, 1898)
This development was an off-shoot of American imperialists desire to expand overseas, after driving the American Indians from their native land, after grabbing Texas and California, etc., from Mexico, and in competition with other Caucasian colonizers (Britain, France, Dutch, German and other imperial colonials) to carve out Oriental countries as their new-found possessions to exploit the natural resources and manpower.
2. When World War II loomed in 1941 in the Far East, U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as Commander-in-Chief invoked powers vested upon him under Public Law 73-127, authorizing him to conscript all able-bodied Filipino nationals (in effect drafting them into honorable and active military service of the United State Armed Forces, who are members of the existing organized military units of the Philippine Commonwealth Army.
The text of Pres. Roosevelt’s un-numbered Military Order stated, and I quote: “I hereby call and order into the service of the Armed Forces f the United States for the period of the existing emergency, and place under the command of a General Officer, U.S. Army, all organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.”
All members of said military organizations (i.e., The Philippine Army, Philippine Constabulary, the Old Philippine Scouts etc.) were formally inducted and incorporated into the United States Army in the Far East (USAFFE), under and by virtue of the Tydings-McDuffe Act, PL- 73-127, Section 2(a)(2) 48 Stat. 458 (1939) (See: Federal Register 3825)
Except for the New Philippine Scouts, who were drafted by the United States under the Armed Forces. Voluntary Recruitment Act of 1945, enacted in October 1945, Public Law 79-190 – were also classified as World War II veterans, and participated in the occupation of Japan, Okinawa. Guam and other acquired territories by the U.S. after the cessation of hostilities in World War II.
All such military forces (except for the New Scouts) therefore became just one distinct armed force – namely, the USAFFE, commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, U.S.A. from 1941 to 1946.(emphasis supplied) These veterans all rendered valiant, honorable and active military service in the United States Armed Forces..
Therefore, parties both inside and outside the U.S. government who are voicing and/or claiming and stating that the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines was separate unit in the United States Army (USAFFE) are totally ignorant of hard facts, and are promoters of a false issue, and an artifice under a dastardly act of evasion of recognition and payment of due compensation, allowance and benefits to U.S. Army Filipino servicemen. They should not be taken seriously.
3. There are at least four different categories of Filipino U.S. Servicemen, namely: (a) the members of the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, (b) the Recognized Guerrillas, (c) the Old Philippine Scouts, and (d) the New Scouts.
All of them (above) have were U.S. Armed Forces servicemen who fought for the U.S. flag and imperial interest to save freedom and democracy for America and the Commonwealth. Let there be no mistakes about this. As legitimate members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Army kept their wartime records in St. Louis, Missouri.
Those holding and arguing that these U.S. servicemen were not part of the U.S. Armed Forces, then - why are their 201-file and service records, as well as their discharge papers (DD-214) are part of the U.S. Armed Forces service records ? Why? What and where is the rationale?
And why is the U.S. government grudgingly paying piece-meal as part of their rightfully wartime earned compensation, all benefits of these Filipino U.S. Army servicemen?
Current retarded step-by-step payment of their service-connected disability health care and burial benefits, were previously paid at an affront and impudence baratillo (cut-rate) of only 50 cents for every dollar paid to their comrades in the U.S.. Armed Forces.
It was only recently when the U.S. Courts awarded justice to the Filipino U.S. servicemen their right to due compensation, allowances and benefits – that Congress defenselessly amended statutes to correct the injustices and discrimination.
However, the government still impedes and slow down settlement of the overall debt ($2.3) owed to these intrepid Filipino veterans for the last 63 years.
It is obvious that the government’s artifice of paying up such compensation, allowances and benefits – apparently appears as part of the perfidious scheme of delaying payments as long as possible. Why?
Surviving Filipino ex- U.S. servicemen, at present - only approximately 50,000 (out of the original 300,000) are already in their twilight years (at their 80s and 90s) and die by the hundreds each day due to sickness and age. Therefore, the trick of the government – in delaying and stretching the payments of benefits, there would be less in numbers of veterans to claim for payment. Therefore, the government could be able to save millions of dollars under such artful trickery and artifice.
Payment of veteran’s benefits are classified as “pork” in the lingo of Congress, entitled to each solon. Legislators of both political parties are reluctant to share part of this pork – to pay the veterans because solons save the pork for their own disposition. Veterans can wait until kingdom come – as far as solons are concerned. Especially, veterans who are in the Philippines, and who are not voters. Their lives and welfare are expendable, so to speak.
4. The issue perpetrated by segregationists – stating that Filipino veterans of the Commonwealth of the Philippines did not fight for the U.S. and only fought for the Commonwealth of the Philippines – is totally groundless and have smacks of deceit and doubletalk. I am hereby quoting the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on Insular cases, to wit: “
The Philippines was not a foreign territory within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, and that the Commonwealth of the Philippines was under the sovereignty of the United States. The United States legally involved the Philippines in a war of the United States against Japan – likewise dictated the political and military strategy of the conflict.”
This final and legal certainty needs no further elucidation. It speaks for itself, and sends the message to segregationists (both inside and outside of government) that it is the sole responsibility of government to protect and compensate the Filipino former U.S. servicemen who shed blood and died for the Uncle Sam – which have turned as a delinquent and dead-beat Uncle Scrooge.
5. Filipino-American U.S. servicemen if not recognized and/or equally paid their wartime honorable and active military service in the U.S. Army by the government – therefore will remain as floating peons (slaves) that fought in World War II, no less made to served in the U.s. Armed Forces under “involuntary servitude” strongly prohibited by Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (See: Const. Amends) to wit:
“Neither slavery nor voluntary servitude except as punishment for crimes thereof the party shall exist within the U.S. or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (See: Citation exparte McClusky CC. C.Ark. 1898).
In fact, there should never be any form of discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces at all for good morale. The U.S. Supreme Court held to wit:
“Equity is rooted in conscience equal protection of laws not achieved through indiscriminate imposition of inequalities. Historical text of the 14th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution should not be forgotten . It is clear that the matter of primacy concern was establishment of equality in the enjoyment of basic civil and political rights, and the preservation of those rights from discriminatory action on the part of the State based on the consideration of race and color.” (See: citation in Juda versus U.S.. S.Ct. 442 and Fr. P. Intines versus U.S.)
I trust that these above-enumerated facts would clear up the inutile and inefficacious and unproductive debate aired in the media. (the PhilNews) by uninformed and those who did not do any homework on the subject, who therefore have insulted their ignorance. It divides veterans.
Truth always prevail over lies and conjectures. What sways men is fear of the truth. Those men in government or elsewhere who limit search of truth, or those who forbid men to seek it, paralyzes the essential strength of facts necessary in a democracy. Force of truth penetrates the wall of lies of political scoundrels. ##
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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