Critical Milestone for Bill to Honor WWII Filipino Veterans

November 2, 2016, 7:59 AM HST · Updated November 2, 7:59 AM
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PC: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

PC: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard hosted a roundtable of leaders from Hawaiʻi’s Filipino community to update them on the legislation she introduced to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino Veterans of World War II.

The bill, HR2737, recently crossed a critical milestone and, after decades of attempted recognition for Filipino World War II veterans, Rep. Gabbard said the bill is “closer to passage than ever before.”

PC: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

PC: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

“Congressional Gold Medal bills require two thirds of the House, or at least 290 members, to sign on to the bill before it can move forward. I’m happy to report to you today that we’ve exceeded this with 309 co-sponsors, with colleagues representing both parties and nearly every state and territory in our nation supporting legislation to recognize these men for their service and sacrifice,” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced to a group of leaders from Hawaiʻi’s Filipino community.

“Despite their critical role in the Pacific, Filipino World War II veterans have never been recognized by Congress for their service. We’ve waited far too long to recognize these heroes alongside units like the Tuskeegee Airmen and Hawaiʻi’s own 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion with the Congressional Gold Medal. With just 18,000 Filipino World War II veterans alive today, time is of the essence for Congress to pass this legislation and honor these courageous men with the long overdue recognition they deserve,” said Rep. Gabbard

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Last year, Congresswoman Gabbard introduced the bipartisan bill to acknowledge over 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II.

305 Members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors of the congresswoman’s bill, and she is working with House leadership to schedule it for a vote. With support from Hawaiʻi’s Filipino community and organizations across the country, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hopes to pass the legislation before the end of the year.

During the roundtable with Rep. Gabbard, the group also discussed important issues regarding US-Philippines relations, building greater understanding of Filipino history, culture, and contributions in the US, higher education, immigration and family reunification, transition programs for service members entering the civilian workforce, the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, and more.

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