Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chicago Filipino WWII Veterans to Give Thanks and Receive Thanks" 3/28, 11am @ Rizal Center


Community celebrates benefits authorized by President Obama for elderly veterans.

Contact: Sam del Rosario (773)727-8520

CHICAGO--In gratitude for President Obama's signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which included the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund, Filipino WWII veterans and community supporters are holding a celebration of thanks and appreciation not only for the sacrifices of the veterans but also for the many citizen and civic leaders who have helped on behalf of the veterans. Many local, state, and federal politicians who have supported the veterans in their decades long fight are invited to attend. The event will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2009 from 11am to 4pm at the Rizal Center, 1332 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL.

A local Filipino Veteran, Commander Arcadio "Itay" Calabas said of the compensation fund, "We are so very happy, especially that our marching and fighting and dying alongside American soldiers are being recognized, even though it is 63 years later".

"Correcting injustice is a long and arduous task. However, advocates must trust the wisdom of the people and the inherent value of the cause so they can keep their eyes on the prize of the struggle," said Jerry Clarito, Executive Director of the Illinois Veterans Equity Center.

The Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund (P.L. 111-5 Title X, Sec. 1002), authorizes the release of a one-time benefit of $15,000 to surviving eligible veterans who are American citizens, $9,000 for veterans who are Filipino citizens, in recognition for their US military active service. Families of veterans who have passed away are not eligible for the benefit. An estimated 250,000 Filipinos fought along side American forces to defend the Philippines during WWII. Today, fewer than 18,000 are still alive, according to US estimates. Approximately 30 veterans remain in the Chicago area.

While the Filipino veterans of American Legion FilAm Post 509 themselves are instrumental in organizing the event, they are receiving initial support from community organizations such as Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), the Illinois Veterans Equity Center (IVEC), the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago, FACC's Seniors and Veterans Program under Carmen Estacio, and the Filipino American Community Health Initiative of Chicago (FACHIC).

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