Recognizing Filipino Americans & their Contributions in WWII

Post by: Brad Baldia

In December, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill recognizing the sacrifices and contributions of over 260,000 Filipinos and Filipino Americans who fought alongside allied forces during World War II. The legislation approved on Thursday, December 15 awards the Congressional Gold Medal — the nation’s highest civilian honor — to veterans whose service had been largely dismissed by prior acts of Congress.

“The Filipino veterans of World War II overcame many challenges in their fight for compensation, family reunification, and verification of wartime service,” said Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), one of the lead sponsors of the legislation, in a statement published on Thursday.

The granting of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Filipino Veterans and reparations of benefits has occurred after decades of campaigning and lobbying. The Filipino Veterans were never given the benefits promised to them during World War II. Many of our veterans have passed away but it is extremely rewarding to see that the contributions and sacrifices of our Filipino veterans are finally recognized along with others such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Japanese American veterans.

Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian ethnic group in the US with a population of 3.4 million. As a part of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, I am proud to see that the Fil Am community’s contributions to the US are being recognized and valued, especially at a time when our country is so divided and anti-immigrant.