More than a thousand Filipino-Americans marched to LA’s Hollywood District and held a rally demanding full recognition for Filipino World War II veterans on Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day. Photo courtesy of Daniel Salera

More than a thousand Filipino-Americans marched to LA’s Hollywood District and held a rally demanding full recognition for Filipino World War II veterans on Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day. Photo courtesy of Daniel Salera

Los Angeles  – The Justice for Filipino American Veterans, an alliance of veterans organizations, community advocates, youth and students  announced that they will march for the third time in 14 years on  Veterans Day, November 11, 2014 in Hollywood, Los Angeles   to dramatize and remind America of their broken promises and unfulfilled pledges to our veterans and relatives.

JFAV National Coordinator Arturo P. Garcia said, “The Hollywood Veterans Day March will start at 11:30 at the assembly area at Hollywood and Ivar St. The groups will assemble at 10:30 a.m. for a pre-rally that will start at 11 a.m. The other assembly areas are at The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles(FACLA) at 9;00 Am for the Veterans, widows, youth /students and community advocates. There will be a pre rally and an orientation for volunteers and marshals at FACLA. “

Garcia also said, “ Aside from JFAV-LA  other groups that will march on November 11 are  FACLA, S4PACE, ANSWER-LA, Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC). Philippinetown Inc (PTI),Pro People Youth (KabataangmakaBayan (kmB), KMB Sessions LA, Kababayan Alliance of UC Irvine, PASK, CalPoly Pomona Barkada, XPO. TDB Boys, Samahang Pilipino of UCLA, UCR Katipunan, CSUN, Pasadena City College and other groups.”

Fight Systemic Racism and Racial Discrimination

JFAV described the history of the Filipino veterans struggle as , “ On July 26, 1941, six months before the war, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt conscripted the 120,000 army of the commonwealth of the Philippines into the United States Armed Forces in the Far East  (USAFFE) making the Philippines, the US Garrison outside of the US mainland.

During the war, USAFFE surrendered but not the Filipino people and they waged a three year long war of resistance and rallied again under the US colors and liberated the Philippines from the Japanese yoke. For their military service , at least 250,000 USAFFE soldiers and guerillas were recognized by the US Army as American soldiers making them eligible for veterans benefits. But six months later on February 18, 1946, the 79th  US Congress declared their “military service inactive” and until now, 68 years later they remained unrecognized as American veterans. Out of the 66 nationalities who fought during the war, only the Filipinos were excluded from benefits and privileges they deserved.

As if rubbing salt into the gaping wounds, the US Congress in 2008 did not pass the S 1350 that recognized the Filipino Veterans and that give them lifetime pensions but instead passed the ARRA Law of 2009  that gave them measly lump sum. But the most insulting about this law is that out of the 41,000 Filipino veterans who applied, only 18,000 were granted and more than 52% 0r 25,000 of them were denied their benefits.

Garcia also added, “ We have been marching for the last 14 years and have been lobbying at the US Congress at the US Congress and we only got was a lump sum and  small benefits like healthcare. We will continue to  march for equity and justice and we will not stop until we get justice and equity for our lolos and lolas and for community.”

For more information about the 14th JFAV March for Justice and Equity please call jfav at (213)241-0995 or email us pilipinokami76@yahoo.com or at our website at www.peoplescore.net and www.newfacla.org