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30/07/2010: President Obama Approves Additional Benefits for Filipino Veterans

30 July 2010, Washington, D.C. - Ambassador Willy C. Gaa, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, welcomed the approval by President Barack Obama of the provision of additional benefits for Filipino veterans of World War II amounting to up to $67 million. Forming part of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, which was signed by President Obama on July 29, 2010, it would add to the $198 million worth of benefits which were earlier granted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Ambassador Gaa said that “this is the latest acknowledgment by the United States of the great service by Filipino veterans who fought side by side with American soldiers in defense of freedom during World War II.”

The additional benefits will provide for transfer authority of certain unobligated funds of up to $67 million to the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund. It states that “of the amounts made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs under the ‘Construction, Major Projects’ account, in fiscal year 2010 or previous fiscal years, up to $67,000,000 may be transferred to the ‘Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund’ account or may be retained in the ‘Construction, Major Projects’ account and used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for such major medical facility projects (as defined under section 8104(a) of title 38, United States Code) that have been authorized by law as the Secretary considers appropriate.”

The provision embodies the amendment originally made by Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) to H.R. 4899 based on the recommendation put forward by the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. The recommended additional funds address the projected shortfall of $67 million in the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund.

Ambassador Gaa said that the Embassy is reaching out to those Filipino veterans whose appeals were denied.  He further added that the Embassy has been collaborating and working closely with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that all concerns are addressed. END