By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – When the United States Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946, it did not only “rob” the Filipino and Filipino American World War II veterans of their war
pay, it also stripped them of their U.S. citizenship and nationality.
Retired U.S. Army Filipino American Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba delivered the blistering remarks during the 76th anniversary ceremonies of the Bataan Death March last April 9th as he gave away the Congressional Gold Medals to five surviving Filipino American veterans and survivors of the 17 veterans and guests, including guest speaker Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes of the Illinois National Guard, held in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago.
General Taguba, who was pressured to retire when the blame of the cover-up of his expose of widespread torture of innocent Iraqi prisoners committed by U.S. soldiers in the Abu Gharib prisons was “gravitating upwards” to the chain of command that included U.S. Defense Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush, said when the U.S. Congress passed the Rescission Act, “it was simply unconscionable.”
RETIRED U.S. MAJ. GEN. ANTONIO M. TAGUBA (fourth from left) and Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes (sixth from right), Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, join Philippine Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin (to Gen. Taguba’s left) and members and friends of the Filipino community during the floral offering and wreath laying at the southern foot of the Bataan-Corregidor Bridge at Wacker Drive and State Street in the heart of Chicago, Illinois on April 9th at the commemoration of the 76th Bataan Day of Valor. Others from right are Abbey Eusebio of the office of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Thomas Choi of the office of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Greg Wangering, Rose San Diego, Consul Mel Lalunio, Jr. and Alvar Rosales. (Photo by Arnel Santiago of the Philippine Consulate)
Mr. Taguba had also accused the Bush administration in 2008 of “committing war crimes in a preface to a report by Physicians for Human Rights on prisoner abuse and torture in American military prisons,” according to the New Yorker.
“The law declared those who were in Philippine Commonwealth Army, who fought with Filipinos and Americans (of about) 200,000 for four years during World War II ‘were not active service' and the Recession Act also revoked their U.S. citizenship or nationality previously bestowed on them by the U.S. Nationality Act of 1940,” Mr. Taguba said.
HIGH FIVE VETERAN AWARDEES:
EMILIO N. GARCERA (extreme left, seated) and four other living Filipino World War II veterans were given the Congressional Gold Medals by former U.S. Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba (extreme right, standing), Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes (second from left, standing) and Philippine Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin (third from left standing). The other awardees from left seated are Messrs. Jesus S. Groyon, Fortunato R. Mallari, Manuel F. Nunez and Dominador Ramirez. Others in photo from right are Mr. George Molina, receiving the award for his father Pedro B. Molina and other relatives; Mrs. Tess Claveria for her husband, Roberto H. Claveria; Mr. Jerry Clarito for his father, Juan J. Clarito; Mr. Neil Caronongan for his father, Ricardo U. Caronongan; Ms. Ella Basilio for her father, Genaro T. Basilio; Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin and Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes. The awards ceremonies were held in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois on April 9th at the 76th Bataan Day of Valor. (Photo by Arnel Santiago of the Philippine Consulate)
The $15,000 received by a Filipino veteran who became U.S. citizen and the $9,000 received by a Filipino veteran who did not become U.S. citizen, General Taguba said, was “a symbol of consolation in 2009, when President Obama signed the Filipino Veterans Equity Law that allotted a one-time lump sum payment. This law was for unpaid salaries owed to 200,000 soldiers affected by the Rescission Act. Only 18,000 living veterans were able to accept this long-overdue salaries over 76 years later.
“And one of the veterans, Mr. Celestino Almeda, finally received his check for $15,000 after appealing for seven years that he served in the Philippine Commonwealth Army. His long-awaited salary (came) on Oct. 24, 2017. He is 100 years old today. And so proud to have served our country.”
GOLD MEDAL OVERDUE
In bestowing the Congressional Gold Medal, Mr. Taguba, said, “This gold medal is overdue and I heard time and again their distinguished recognition has finally come. Thousands since (had) passed away, to include my Dad (Tomas), few hundreds are still alive, several of them hundred years old.” Tomas Taguba was a member of the Old Philippine Scouts, the equivalent of U.S. Army National Guard in the Philippines from the early American Occupation up to the Commonwealth periods.
SURVIVORS OF Filipino veterans display their Congressional Gold Medals during the ceremonies held on April 9th at the 76th Bataan Day of Valor in the Philippine Consulate General. Photo from right, seated, shows Mrs. Elisea Jamoralin receiving the medal for her father, Mr. Adriano I. Alagon; Ms. Lorna Alba for her mother, Cleopatra Dulay Pactol; Mr. Edel Alayon for his father, Julian O. Alayon; Ms. Ching Almonte for her uncle, Julian Almonte; and Mrs. Virginia Agsibal for her father, Dominador L. Soriano. Standing from right are retired Major Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, Mr. Virgilio Pilapil for his father, Isidoro P. Pilapil; Unidentified; Ms. Dina Ubaldo for her father, Elino Santiago; Mrs. Remedios Cabagnot for her husband, Servillano J. Cabagnot; Ms. Myrna Calabas for her father, Arcadio V. Calabas; Mr. Edward Brotonel for his father, Henry C. Brotonel; Ms. Anita Brotonel for her father, Simeon V. Bertucio; Ms. Ella Basilio for her father, Genaro T. Basilio; Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin and Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes. (Photo by Arnel Santiago of the Philippine Consulate)
“Two months ago, Ramon Regalado, 101 old got the award and a week later, he passed away, (as we) honor (today) four noble soldiers and 17 next of kin, for loyal and honorable service to our country,” Taguba said.
Last Oct. 25, House Speaker Paul Ryan presented the gold medal, after 76 years of waiting for the U.S. Congress to make it so. It was on Dec. 14, 2016 when President Obama signed the Congressional Gold Medal bill passed by Congress in 2015 to recognize formally 260,000 Filipinos American veterans during WW II for their indomitable service in defending U.S. and Philippines. Some 57,000 were killed in action, thousands injured, hundreds and hundreds Missing in Action from Dec. 1941 to Dec. 1946 as they defeated the Japanese Imperial Forces.
"Despite helping liberate the territory and the former colony, their victory was not enough when on Feb. 18, 1946, Congress passed the Rescission Act and President Truman signed it following the death of President Roosevelt," Mr. Taguba said.
CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL AWARDEES:
MRS. REMEDIOS CABAGNOT (in wheelchair) clutches proudly the Congressional Gold Medal that she received on behalf of her late husband, Servillano J. Cabagnot, during ceremonies on April 9th at the 76th Bataan Day of Valor commemoration in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois while another survivor, Mr. Jerry B. Clarito (extreme right) also holds the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his father, Juan J. Clarito. Looking on from right are Al Cabagnot, Tess Gutierrez, Manny Luna and Joseph G. Lariosa. (JGL Photo)
“This law, which remains active today, over 200,000 Filipino soldiers were affected by this law. More toll on their lives after sacrificing, fighting and saving their country. It was a tremendous burden of indignation on their lives and nearly a century of injustice and discrimination. They bled and died in the same manner as with their comrades but (who were) robbed of honor and dignity for their acts of valor in the face of the enemy.”
HIDDEN FROM AMERICAN PUBLIC
He also thanked the new Philippine Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin for inviting him to grace the floral offering and wreath-laying at the southern foot of the Bataan-Corregidor Bridge in Wacker Dr. corner State St. in downtown Chicago.
NEPHEW GETS CERTIFICATE:
MARIANO “ANONG” SANTOS (extreme left) of Pinoy Newsmagazine holds a Certificate of Special Recognition on behalf of his uncle Pedro De Guzman Santos in appreciation of his uncle's honorable service in the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East (USAFEE) bestowed on him by Filipino American Veterans of Illinois represented by Ms. Rose San Diego (third from left) while Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes and two others look on. The certificate was handed to Mr. Santos during the 76th Bataan Day of Valor in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois last April 9th. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
Mr. Taguba, 67, who is the second U.S. general born in the Philippines, said, “The Rescission Act also revoked their (Filipino soldiers') U.S. or nationality/citizenship previously bestowed on them under the Nationality Act of 1940, another promise. This law affected 200,000 soldiers who were once U.S. Nationals/Citizens when U.S. colonized the Philippines in 1898 to 1946 as you all know your history. This law was largely hidden from American public even to this day. And has never been repealed. A national tragedy unknown and not necessarily taught in U.S. history and not even in the Philippines.”
Sec. 303 of H.R. 9980 which was passed by Congress as Nationality Act on Oct. 14, 1940 provides, “The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity, or descent, and descendants of races indigenous to the Western Hemisphere: Provided, that nothing in this section shall prevent the naturalization of native-born Filipinos having the honorable service in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard as specified in Sec. 324, nor of former citizens of the US who are otherwise eligible to naturalization under the provisions of section 317.”
COURAGE & BRAVERY:
CONSUL GENERAL GINA A. JAMORALIN pays tribute to the “courage and bravery and unfaltering sense of duty of Filipino and American veterans during World War II" in brief remarks during the 76th commemoration of Bataan Day of Valor last April 9th in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois. Listening from right are the special guests and speakers former Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba and Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes of the Illinois National Guard. (Photo by Arnel Santiago of the Philippine Consulate)
In his welcome remarks, Maj. Gen. Hayes supported Mr. Taguba, saying, “Like Major General Taguba said, we need to change this law, to recognize fully the contribution of veterans who fought in World War II, in the Philippines.” General Hayes told the members of the community it was the "members of the Illinois National Guard who were among the first states to have U.S. soldiers on the ground in the Philippines. And that happened before WW II started.”
Rep. Jackie Speier [D-CA-14] introduced last September a bill, H.R. 3865, “Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2017,” which will attempt to repeal the 1946 Rescission Act, and extend full benefits to Filipino veterans but it has so far gathered 34 co-sponsors.
PUT TOGETHER FILVETREP
After his retirement, Mr. Taguba founded the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, which was responsible for promoting and lobbying for the passage of the Congressional Gold Medal bill.
ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARDS IN WW II:
MAJ. GEN. RICHARD HAYES of the Illinois National Guard cited the role of the members of his command as the first soldiers “on the ground” in the Philippines when World War II broke out during the 76th anniversary of the Bataan Death March in Chicago last April 9th in the Philippine Consulate General. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
The four veterans who received the Gold Medals were Messrs. Emilio N. Garcera, Jesus S. Groyon, Fortunato R. Mallari and Manuel F. Nunez.
The next of kin who received the Gold Medals were Mrs. Elisea Jamoralin for her father, Mr. Adriano I. Alagon; Ms. Lorna Alba for her mother, Cleopatra Dulay Pactol; Mr. Edel Alayon for his father, Julian O. Alayon; Ms. Ching Almonte for her uncle, Julian Almonte; Mrs. Virginia Agsibal for her father, Dominador L. Soriano; Ms. Ella Basilio for her father, Genaro T. Basilio; Ms. Anita Brotonel for her father, Simeon V. Bertucio; Mr. Edward Brotonel for his father, Henry C. Brotonel; Mrs. Remedios Cabagnot for her husband, Servillano J. Cabagnot; Ms. Myrna Calabas for her father, Arcadio V. Calabas; Mr. Neil Caronongan for his father, Ricardo U. Caronongan; Mr. Jerry Clarito for his father, Juan J. Clarito; Mrs. Tess Claveria for her husband, Roberto H. Claveria; Mr. George Molina for his father, Pedro B. Molina; Dr. Premit Pal for his father, Agaton P. Pal; Mr. Virgilio Pilapil for his father, Isidoro P. Pilapil and Ms. Dina Ubaldo for her father, Elino Santiago.
Ms. Lisa Kohnke of the Mayor’s Office read the Bataan Day proclamation on behalf of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel while Mr. Thomas Choi read the proclamation on behalf Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner; Ms. Abbey Eusebio read greetings from Congressman Jan Schakowsky while Ms. Marina Faz-Hupper read the greetings of Senator Tammy Duckworth, who could not make it to the event as she delivered her baby.
FROM GOVERNOR, MAYOR:
MR. THOMAS CHOI of the office of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Ms. Lisa Kohnke of the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are special guests as they read the proclamations of Bataan Day in Illinois and in Chicago during 76th anniversary of Bataan Death March on April 9th in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
Ms. Jelly Carandang, Director, FilVetRep Region 3, Member, NaFFAA Board of Trustees, and officer of The Filipino American National Historical Society (FAHNS), delivered the closing remarks. Ms. Carandang said veterans and survivors who want to avail of the Congressional Gold medal may download their applications by visiting the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project website.
Surviving recipient Jerry Clarito “acknowledged the hard work of Ms. Angeles Carandang in vetting the CGM recipients here in the Midwest.
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