Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 30, 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Veterans


Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, during my time here in the House of Representatives, each Congressional Session I have introduced the World War II Filipino Veterans Recognition Act in an attempt to restore the benefits that were promised to these brave soldiers by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when they were incorporated into the United States Armed Forces Far East during World War II, but then had those benefits denied by the Rescission Act of 1946.

These soldiers served side by side with American troops. They served under American officers. They bled, fought, and died to protect their homeland on behalf of the United States.

I have had the honor to get to know six of these gentlemen who lived in southern Nevada: Francisco Cedulla; Romeo Barreras; Silverio Cuaresma; Augusto Opus; Bataan Death March survivor, Jesse Baltazar; and Edilberto Briones. Unfortunately, over the last 6 years, five of them have passed on, never receiving the recognition that they justly deserve. That is why this bill is so important.

While it does not justly compensate these brave soldiers for the service that they gave to this country, this bill, S. 1555, and the companion introduced by my good friend, the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Gabbard), and of which I am the lead cosponsor, is in some small way a recognition of the service rendered by these brave patriots.

It is for that reason that I rise in strong support and urge all of my colleagues to vote in support of S. 1555, so that we can finally pay some level of recognition to those who served side by side with American soldiers under American command.