Amb. Cuisia reminds U.S. to act on plight of 24K veterans

Celestino Almeda, 95, visited his comrade, Jack Tejada, at the Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia offering three roses and a flag at his tombstone. Photo by Eric Lachica.

As the country commemorates Veterans Day, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. paid tribute to Filipino and American veterans and expressed hope the U.S. would act soon on the plight of more than 24,000 Filipino veterans who were disqualified from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund program.

“With the elections over, we are hoping that the U.S. Government would now be able to move the process forward,” Cuisia said in a statement. He thanked the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for creating an Interagency Working Group that would review the applications of the disqualified veterans.

Retired Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, head of the Office of Veterans Affairs at the Philippine Embassy, said the disqualification issue stemmed from the guidelines being implemented by the National Personnel Records Center, which certifies the services of Filipino veterans. Accordingly, the guidelines require that the names of veteran-claimants appear in both the Roster of Troops and the Discharge List prepared by the U.S. Army at the end of the Second World War.

“Unfortunately, the claims of a large number of Filipino veterans were not processed because their names appear only in one list or the other but not both,” Lorenzana said. “What we are requesting the U.S. government is for them to consider all available sources of records and not just the two lists.”

The disqualified veterans comprise 56 percent of the 43,083 surviving veterans who filed their claims under the compensation fund, which grants a one-time lump sum of $15,000 for veterans who have become U.S. citizens and $9,000 for those who retained their Philippine citizenship.

Lorenzana said the U.S. Government has so far released a total of $223.7 million to 18,698 Filipino veterans from the $265-million compensation fund that was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that President Obama signed into law in 2009.

One Comment

  1. RobDH wrote:

    The problem is not the US National Personnel Records Center policy. The ground rules were promulgated between both the American and Philippine governments, and the Philippine Veterans Administration. Not only do many Filipino veterans alleged to be qualified not appear on both list (no reason they would not), but the thousands have been certified by the Philippine government as fraudulent. In increasing numbers of cases, up to three different versions of list presented as evidence differ from the original list provided by the Philippine government. These do not include the numbers originally approved, later to be proved fraudulent. What are we to do?

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