United States President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that provides Filipino veterans of World War 2 proper recognition for their service in fighting alongside US troops.
The new law will award Filipino veterans with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions to America.
Among the awardees were the Philippine Scouts, members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and recognized guerrilla units who fought under the American flag against Japan during World War 2.
The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono, Dean Heller, Harry Reid, Tim Kaine and Brian Schatz while the House version was sponsored by Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Joseph Heck, Juan Vargas, Mike Thompson, Mark Takai and Jackie Speier.
The Philippine Embassy in Washington extended its appreciation to the US government.
“We welcome this terrific news and extend our appreciation anew to all the advocates and supporters of the bill at the US House of Representatives and the Senate. This gold medal is a fitting tribute to our veterans’ sacrifice, courage, and strength,” Minister Patrick Chuasoto, chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Philippine Embassy, said in a statement.
He added that from ordinary civilians to defenders of free nations, “these men and women deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.”
“This could not have been done without the commitment and support of the Philippine Consulates General and Filipino communities across the United States, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project in the success of this joint campaign,” Chuasoto said.
The award is set to recognize at least 260,000 Filipino veterans.
“We look forward to having our veterans seeing the actual gold medal as soon as it is minted,” Chuasoto said.