Senate Fight to Restore Benefits to WWII Filipino Veterans - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Senate Fight to Restore Benefits to WWII Filipino Veterans

U.S. Senator Dan Inouye U.S. Senator Dan Inouye
U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka
Domingo Los Banos Domingo Los Banos

By Mari-Ela David

WASHINGTON (KHNL) -- It's a battle that's been going on since 1946. On Tuesday, a hopeful step in the fight to give Filipino World War II veterans full benefits.

Congress voted unanimously to look at a bill that would give Filipino veterans millions of dollars in new pension benefits. Leading the way - Hawaii's senators.

Filipino veterans fought alongside American soldiers in World War II, but they have yet to see the full benefits the U.S. government promised them more than 60 years ago.

"Here we have a bill before us that will restore this honor," U.S. Senator Dan Inouye.

"I believe it's a moral obligation of this nation to provide for those Filipino veterans who fought under the U.S. flag during World War II," said U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka.

On Capitol Hill, Senators Akaka and Inouye are spearheading the fight to pass the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act. It's a battle Filipino veteran Domingo Los Banos applauds.

"It seems that America treats their enemies better than their friends when Japan got thousands of millions of dollars after the war, like the Germans and here, a friendly country who fought along with the Americans are denied these rights promised them," said Los Banos.

The controversial bill calls for $221 million in new pension benefits. That's money some lawmakers say should be spent on soldiers fighting in the war on terrorism.

Still, Congress voted 94 to zero to advance the bill for a final vote.

The Senate is expected to vote on the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act Wednesday.

If it passes, Filipino veterans living outside the U.S. would get a special pension of $300 a month.

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