Bernie Sanders Statement on Filipino Veterans

NEW YORK – Bernie 2016, the presidential campaign for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, has released the following statement to the Filipino American Democratic Club on Senator Sanders’ position on Filipino veterans:

“As a long-time member and former chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Sanders has worked tirelessly to ensure veterans have access to the care and benefits they have earned in service to our nation.

The Senator is a strong supporter of Filipino World War II veterans. These veterans are now advanced in age and deserve to know the U.S. government has done everything possible to verify their service. To this end, Senator Sanders supports efforts to review denials of Filipino veterans’ claims for the lump sum benefit. While there have been previous efforts to determine eligibility in the past, Senator Sanders believes it is worth taking another look to verify eligibility.

In addition to the lump sum benefit, Senator Sanders supported Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii’s legislation to provide increased benefits to Filipino veterans. More recently, he has supported legislation offered by Senator Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to provide a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the dedication of World War II Filipino veterans.

Senator Sanders supports President Obama’s executive action to assist family members of Filipino veterans currently in family immigration backlogs to come to the U.S. to care for these aging veterans. While this policy is no replacement for immigration reform, it’s an important step in addressing the need to care for these veterans.”

Aries Dela Cruz, Filipino American Democratic Club of New York president issued the following statement in response:

“I welcome Senator Sanders’ statement on his record and plan for Filipino WWII veterans. As a leader on veteran’s issues in congress, Senator Sanders support is received with gratitude from the Filipino American community particularly during a time when the senator has a national platform to raise these issues.
These are core priority issues for our Democratic Club, particularly Senator Sanders’ co-sponsorship in the Senate of S. 1555, the identical bill to H.R. 2737 in Congress that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino WWII veterans. I can share that as of today, we have secured 7 co-sponsorships for this bill from the New York state congressional delegation, and our members are taking action to secure 100% co-sponsorship of this bill in New York.
Filipino veterans are dying each day without receiving the recognition they deserve. There are only 18,000 Filipino veterans left to receive this award, and so time is of the essence to make sure we honor their sacrifices and contributions when they fought as American nationals. We cannot wait another year on this and so we welcome Senator Sanders’ statement of support for our priorities.
Both candidates have a longstanding record of engagement on issues that matter most to Filipino Americans. I hope that our community in New York becomes informed on these candidates and their policies, and participates fully in the Democratic process on Tuesday, April 19.”