SAN DIEGO – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) recognized the contributions of Filipino Americans at the start of Filipino American History Month. She also called for fulfilling a promise to Filipino American veterans by proving full veterans benefits to those who joined the fight to protect America.
"America has not only benefited culturally and economically from the contributions of Filipino Americans, but they have always been willing to join the fight to protect our freedoms,” said Rep. Davis, senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “As we honor the contributions of Filipino Americans this month, let’s also honor the sacrifice that Filipino veterans have made on our behalf by ensuring they get the full veterans benefits they have earned."
After being promised full benefits by President Roosevelt for their service in World War II, Congress stripped Filipino veterans of those benefits under the Rescission Act of 1946. Davis is a cosponsor of the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act to make all Filipino veterans fully eligible for veterans’ benefits similar to those received by U.S. veterans.
There are about 15,000 living Filipino veterans of World War II. The widows and children of Filipino veterans would also be eligible for survivor’s benefits, known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
When Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines a year ago, Davis worked with local leaders to ensure the U.S. federal government responded to crisis. She led a letter of House members urging the Department of Homeland to temporarily halt the deportation of Filipino nationals.
To encourage contributions for those affected by Haiyan, Davis supported House legislation to direct the IRS to treat cash contributions to victims of Haiyan as if they were made in the 2013 tax year.
Filipino American History Month spans the month of October and was established by the Filipino American National Historical Society in 1991. In 2009, Congress passed resolutions recognizing October as Filipino American History Month.