DALY CITY (KPIX 5) – Rep. Jackie Speier is fighting for a forgotten group.

Speier (D-San Mateo) met with veterans and local leaders in Daly City on Veterans Day to demand benefits for Filipino war heroes. During World War II, Filipinos who volunteered to fight with the United States were promised the same benefits as all other veterans by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But in 1946, Congress rescinded that promise.

Rep. Jackie Speier meets with Filipino veteran David Tejada at a Veterans Day event on November 11, 2019. (CBS)

Rep. Jackie Speier meets with Filipino veteran David Tejada at a Veterans Day event on November 11, 2019. (CBS)

“Two-hundred fifty-thousand Filipinos served in World War II, and only 11,000 of them are alive today.” Speier said. “Those 11,000 deserve to have the benefits that we promised them.”

“I am 96 and I am still here but so many of us are not,” David Tejada, a survivor of the 1942 Bataan Death March, said in a statement from Speier’s office.

Speier has introduced a bill in Congress called the “Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2019.” If approved, the legislation would award the veterans and their immediate families’ full VA benefits.

The bill has been referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. It is unclear when the legislation would be considered.

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