Declassified US Files May Facilitate Veterans' Claims
MANILA, Philippines --- A newly released declassified United States Army document could help pave the way for the release of war benefits of 24,385 aging Filipino veterans who were denied compensation by the US government for services rendered in World War II.
Retired Major General Delfin Lorenzana, Head of the Office of Veterans Affairs at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., said the 335-page document titled "US Army Recognition Program of Philippine Guerrillas," which was originally a classified or secret document, contains the process by which the US Army recognizes deserving guerrillas.
The document was released following a meeting of the Interagency Working Group that was created in October to review the certification process for the Filipino veterans. The group is made up of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Archives and Record Administration.
Lorenzana said this could serve as basis, along with other official records, to determine whether or not Filipino veterans previously disqualified from receiving benefits from the US Government should indeed be compensated.
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders co-chaired by Presidential Assistant Chris Lu recommended the creation of the working group following strong representations made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia, Jr., and the Filipino-American Community led by the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations.
Lorenzana said the Philippine government is hoping that the release of the document would help resolve the disqualification issue which stemmed from guidelines requiring each veteran to be certified by the National Personnel Records Center in St. …