Please read cover story of Philippine Stars’ sunday magazine, Starweek today, October 19, 2008. The article was written by my good friend Boying Pimentel, former San Francisco Chronicle journalist about the Filipino World War II veterans who have been living in the US waiting for almost 2 decades now for the enactment by US congress of the the Equity bill that will provide them with the same war privileges as their American counterparts.
Meanwhile, as these elderly veterans wait forthe passage of the bill into law, they live on scanty Supplementary Security Income (SSI), a portion of which, they send to their families here in the Philippines, the rest they use to pay rent for small units that accommodate 4-5 people. Some of the newcomers live alone, jobless, poverty-stricken, and in some cases, homeless. Many, if not all of them, experience homesickness, but put up with the loneliness, instead of going back to the Philippines, becauseby US law, they can only receive the SSI, as long as they are residing in the US. They would rather put up with the loneliness than lose the dollars that they are able to send to their loved ones.
Some of them, however, have “gone home”, but in urns, in coffins and some,if stories are to be believed, in boxes, not different from balikbayan boxes, together with some canned goods and other pasalubongs. I didnt mean this as a (sick) joke. I meant it as a serious call for all concerned to support the cause of our Filipino heroes who have been deprived not only of their material war benefits but also of their honor and dignity as human beings. Let’s help defend their cause, before it’s too late. Of the more than 200,000 Filipino war veterans, only about 18,000 are surviving, their ages ranging from 80-90 years old, one third of whom are living in the US waiting for something they deserve, but ironically, are practically begging for.
Please help us disseminate the information on the play “Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street”, opening november 7-10, 2008 and will run for the remaining 3 weekends of november at the CCP’s Tanghalang Huseng Batute, with Bembol Roco and Tommy Abuel alternating in the lead role. Direction is by Chris Millado. Rody Vera wrote the stage version of boying pimentel’s novel.
For further information, please contact yvette or paulo at the Tanghalang Pilipino office, (632) 8323661 or 8321125 and ask for the TP office. You may also contact yvette at ymacayan@hotmail..com