18/02/2009: Filipino World War II Veterans Thank President Arroyo for Her Support in the Fight for Recognition and Benefits
Filipino World War II veteran Celestino Almeda addressing the audience at the Philippine Embassy reception to celebrate the signing into law of a provision granting recognition and benefits to Filipino World War II veterans
18 February 2009 - At a reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy to celebrate the signing into law of a provision that finally recognizes the military service of Filipino World War II veterans and provides with lump sum benefits, Filipino veteran Celestino Almeda thanked Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her steadfast support for the veteran’s quest for justice and equity.
Mr. Almeda, a 92 year old veteran of World War II and of the lengthy campaign to achieve justice for their cause, also expressed his gratitude to all those who have helped make this victory possible, from members of the community; officials in the Philippine government; and the advocates and supporters of the bill in both Houses of the U.S. Congress.
Mr. Almeda expressed the joy that he felt on this momentous occasion and stated that he was happy with the outcome. Mr. Almeda told the gathered audience at the Embassy’s reception that “one cannot truly appreciate the light if one has not been subjected to the darkness,” as he recounted the suffering and ordeal that he and his fellow veterans had experienced and witnessed during the war.
Mr. Almeda’s sentiments were also echoed by many of his colleagues. In particular, Mr. Franco Arcebal of the American Coalition of Filipino American Veterans in a celebration held in Lake street Park in Los Angeles, California expressed his appreciation for President Arroyo, Ambassador Willy Gaa, M/Gen. Delfin Lorenzana of the Embassy’s Veterans Affairs Office and the Consulate General of Los Angeles for their role and efforts in advancing the cause the cause of the Filipino World War II veteran.