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08/04/2009: Philippine Embassy Honors and Remembers Bravery and Sacrifice of Filipino WWII Veterans on Araw ng Kagitingan

08 April 2009. To commemorate the “Araw ng Kagitingan,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa hosted a reception at the Philippine Embassy attended by M/Gen Antonio Taguba (Ret.), acting as the representative of the U.S. Veterans Administration Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki (Ret.), Filipino WWII veterans and leaders and members of the Filipino community to render honor and remember the bravery and sacrifices of the Filipino WWII veterans that has made possible the liberties and freedoms we all now enjoy today.

Ambassador Willy C. Gaa in his welcoming remarks calls on everyone to “remember those who fought in defense of our nation and people so that we can live today in freedom and liberty”

Filipino veterans listening to M/Gen Antonio Taguba (Ret.) as he states that “I cannot underscore enough the significance of today’s ceremony. It is not only a day of remembrance of those who fought valiantly at Bataan, but a historic moment for those who have long since passed and those who are with us this evening.”

First Batch of Compensation Checks Handed Out to Filipino World War II Veterans in the U.S.

08 April 2009. At the reception hosted by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa at the Philippine Embassy to commemorate the “Araw ng Kagitingan” M/Gen Antonio Taguba (Ret.), acting as the representative of the U.S. Veterans Administration Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki (Ret.), handed out checks to qualified Filipino veterans who were present at the reception.

The checks, which were among the first benefits checks to be turned over to qualified veterans in the United States, are part of the benefits these Filipino veterans were able to secure from the U.S. government after decades of lobbying the U.S. Congress for recognition and compensation for their services and sacrifices during World War II. The checks were accompanied by a letter from USVA Secretary Shinseki stating that the beneficiary’s application had been received and duly approved. END.

M/Gen Antonio Taguba (Ret.) noting that this benefit provides a “modest solace for the remaining WWII veterans,” hands a check to Alberto Bacani, a 98-year old Filipino-American World War II Veteran, who in his remarks mentioned that this “has brought about a contagious feeling of happiness and full delight to us veterans at this time…”

Ambassador Gaa and M/Gen Antonio Taguba (Ret.) with Terry Bugarin, son of World War II Veterans Nurse Adela Bugarin and World War II Veterans Amadeo Urbano, Celestino Almeda & Alberto Bacani