"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The fates seem to converge as Senator Richard J. Gordon paves the way for the Veterans to turn their dreams into reality on this very apt and timely occasion of the Araw ng Kagitingan, or the Day of Valor.

In celebration of the courage and dedication of our Veterans who risked life and limb to secure the very freedom which we enjoy today, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signs into law the Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act of 2008 to ensure that they will receive all the support from any and all nations which will want to reward them for their bravery and generosity. They are now assured that whatever benefits they are receiving now will not be revoked upon grant and receipt of benefits from other countries.

The law amends Sections 10 and 11 of Republic Act No. 6948, as amended, by removing the prohibition against our Veterans’ receiving benefits from the United States government. Before the law was signed, the Philippine government benefits of Veterans would be revoked once they were granted benefits by the United States government. Because of Senator Gordon’s advocacy and persistence, this prohibition is now eliminated, and our Veterans will now be able to receive any form of benefit from any foreign government without losing the benefits given to them by the Philippine government.

In June 2007, Senator Gordon met with United States legislators California Congressmen Robert Filner and Dana Rohrabacher, Hawaii Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, and Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who were known advocates of Filipino Veterans. The lawmen expressed their support for the passage of a legislative measure granting pension benefits to Filipino World War II Veterans and their surviving spouses now pending in the United States Congress. However, they likewise intimated their concern that upon the passage of this US bill, the benefits currently granted to our Veterans would be revoked, as provided under the pertinent laws of our country.

While that landmark legislative measure remains to be approved by the United States Congress, its passage is assured, provided that the benefits received by our Veterans and their heirs from the Philippine government shall not be withdrawn. Senator Gordon therefore took on the challenge of eradicating this obstacle which hindered the alleviation of the plight of our Veterans and their families.

Making good on his promise and delivering his end of the bargain in no time, Senator Gordon immediately filed Senate Bill No. 142 on 30 June 2007, which sought to amend the pertinent laws of the country to ensure that our Veterans and their heirs shall continue receiving their benefits from the Philippine government even if they were given similar or other benefits by other governments.

The legislative measure was passed on third reading in both houses in record time, with the help of Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon, chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, and House Representative Carissa O. Coscolluela, who sponsored the measure in the Lower House. The signing of this bill into law will then serve to encourage the United States Congress to pass its pending legislative measure that will restore the benefits granted to Filipino Veterans who fought side by side with their American comrades during World War II.

After a little more than nine months, Senator Gordon ushers in the birth of a new beginning for our Veterans. "On this momentous day, our Veterans get the assurance that they justly deserve, that they will not be short-changed by this government through the revocation of their benefits if they received others from foreign governments. Such is the least that we could do to alleviate their quality of life, especially considering that our World War II Veterans have not been able to fully enjoy the benefits due them until now, notwithstanding that they are now in their advanced age, weak, sickly and some dying. We attempt to pay back a huge debt of gratitude which we owe our Veterans because of the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives to protect and defend our country’s liberty, our very destiny and the destiny of the rest of the world".