The U.S. House unanimously voted today to pass a measure that honors World War II Filipinos and Filipino-Americans with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award by Congress.
“Today, the United States Congress took a historic step forward in honoring the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers that served our country during World War II,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in a news release.
The measure will now be sent to President Barack Obama to be signed.
In the release, retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, said, “Now we can tell our veterans with pride in our hearts that this grateful nation has, at last, granted them recognition for the selfless sacrifice they endured in war, and restored their dignity and honor in service to their nation.
The House recently acquired more than the required 290 co-sponsors on the companion bill before today’s floor vote.
In July, the Senate passed a bill authored by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono in July to honor Filipino WWII veterans with the congressional award.
In the news release, Hirono said, “For months, we have said that time is running out to recognize Filipino World War II veterans for their brave service.”
“Today’s House passage is the culmination of decades of work by these veterans and their families to recognize their key role in the Allied victory, and their decades-long fight for benefits.”
There are approximately 18,000 Filipino WWII veterans alive in the U.S. Hawaii’s congressional leaders have been pushing for the measure as most veterans are in their 90s.
During WWII, over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers responded to President Franklin Roosevelt’s “call-to-duty.”