US lawmakers have passed a bill granting a collective honor to Filipino World War 2 veterans, the Department of Foreign Affairs has announced.
The Filipino Veterans of World War 2 Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 will go to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature after its passage in the US House of Representatives on November 30. The bill unanimously passed the US Senate last July 13.
The Senate version was sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono, Dean Heller, Harry Reid, Tim Kaine and Brian Schatz. The House version was sponsored by Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Joseph Heck, Juan Vargas, Mike Thompson, Mark Takai and Jackie Speier. Both bills were introduced in June last year.
The Philippine embassy in Washington lauded the passage of the bill.
“We welcome this good news and extend our appreciation to all the advocates and supporters of the bill at the US House of Representatives and the Senate. Our veterans’ sacrifice is one of the greatest stories of heroism, courage, and strength that our two countries have ever seen. From ordinary civilians to defenders of free nations, these men and women deserve our deepest respect and gratitude,” said Patrick Chuasoto, chargé d’ affaires ad interim of the Philippine embassy.
“We also recognize the contributions 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. We look forward to the final step of President Obama’s signing this bill into law,” he added.
The measure seeks to award a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions in the US, collectively, to 260,000 Filipino veterans in recognition of their dedicated service during World War 2.