Hawaii Filipino vets frustrated over delayed compensation

Nic Musico
Nic Musico
Art Caleda
Art Caleda

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KUNIA (KHNL) - Thousands of Hawaii Filipino veterans close in on receiving compensation for serving in World War II.

But what is missing from the measure, which aims to help them, is upsetting many.

The U.S. House of Representatives comes up with a solution to solving a long time problem facing Filipino veterans. Those that are U.S. citizens would get $15,000, non-U.S. citizens would get $9,000.

But Hawaii vets say, it's not about the money

Its been 62 years since Art Caleda fought in World War II.

But ever since then, he has waged a different battle, a losing one for most of that time.

"It is our indignation, frustration and sentiment for 62 years of fighting for justice," said the Kunia Resident.

Caleda is one of about 18,000 Filipino veterans left, who fought in World War II.

They were promised veterans benefits, which were then taken away after the war.

But the latest house bill only offers up cash.

"We are very much disappointed," added Caleda.

So the soldiers have banded together once more to fight. Hoping their message is heard by Congress.

"I look at this bill as a mercenary payment, you come and fight and I pay you and you're gone," said Nic Musico, with the Filipino Veterans of World War II.

Many Filipino veterans want pension benefits , which were taken away from the former soldiers.

Plus surviving spousal benefits or even exemptions to allow their children to immigrate to the U.S.

"As American citizens, we are entitled to these benefits," said Caleda.

And all want recognition of the sacrifice they made for our country.

"It's not for the money or for the pension, it's to regain the right, as a veteran, that served under the U.S.," said Musico.

The house bill needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate by September 26th.

But according to sources on Capitol Hill, that is unlikely, as the Senate deals with energy and economic issues.