FILAMSPEAK: ‘Aloha, Sen. Daniel Inouye; we won’t forget’

Senator Daniel Inouye, 88

Filipino Americans mourned the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye, war hero and a revered Asian American member of Congress. The senator from Hawaii died December 17th from a respiratory ailment at the age of 88. He was laid to rest on Sunday in Hawaii.

In the FilAm community, Inouye is remembered in awe and with fondness as the lawmaker who masterfully maneuvered for the U.S. government to compensate Filipino World War II veterans, using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also known as the Stimulus Bill. This provision resulted in a $198 million benefit package that compensated each Filipino veteran who is an American citizen $15,000 and $9,000 to a non-U.S. citizen veteran.

Philippine Ambassador

Senator Inouye was more than just a friend of the Philippines. He believed that the U.S. has shortchanged the Philippines with its unfulfilled promise to Filipinos who were drafted in 1941 to serve alongside U.S. soldiers in World War II and he wanted to make up for that. We grieve over his passing because the Filipino people have embraced him as one of their own.

President, Filipino American National Historic Society of New Jersey

I remember going to Washington D.C. (in 2009) with Jersey City war veteran Fred Diaz who ironically passed away just two weeks ago at the age of 96. Senator Inouye sent his staff to explain to the Philippine Ambassador Willy Gaa, the veterans and other diehard supporters of the languishing Filipino Veterans Equity Bill. I was very impressed and hopeful that finally, the last battle was within sight. The rider was well crafted, and payments were fully nontaxable and were not to jeopardize Social Security benefit as defined clearly in the provision. (The provision) was carefully worded as payments for damages for human suffering. Aloha, Senator Daniel Inouye. You made it possible. It was the last chance, and we won’t forget.

Strategist, National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity
Principal, Dewey Square Group

Senator Inouye stood side by side with his fellow World War II Filipino veterans as they marched toward Veterans Equity and made sure that no soldier was left behind in the fight for equity, equal justice and dignity. His legacy is his resolve to never turn away from injustices, but to seek, for however long it takes, to overturn and fight unequal justice under law.

Veteran from Jacksonville, Florida

Senator Inouye was our humble and tireless leader. He passed the 1990 law that allowed 30,000 of us Filipino veterans to become U.S. citizens. Inouye, as chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, passed in 2009 the Equity Compensation law that restored our active service veterans status and provided each one of us in the U.S. a one-time payment of $15,000. Without Inouye’s crucial leadership and guidance, we Filipino veterans would not have won our battles in the halls of the U.S. Congress. Mahalo and Aloha to Sen. Inouye. The American and Filipino people will never forget your heroism and caring of your comrades and their families.

Veteran from Maryland

We are saddened to learn about our champion’s demise. We had hoped to meet and thank him again for his recent efforts to help our few remaining comrades who have been denied recognition by the U.S. Army — including me. I will sorely miss him.

Former White House commissioner
Founder, FilAmVote-NaFFAA

He was a remarkable man who inspired us with his wisdom and integrity, steadfast devotion and drive. We are a richer community because he touched our lives with dignity and grace. Thank you, Senator Inouye.

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