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12/05/2009: Processing of Filipino Veterans' Claims on Track - Gaa

12 May 2009 - Ambassador Willy C. Gaa today said that the processing of the claims of Filipino World War II veterans under the Filipino Veterans Equity Fund remains on track.

"We are in constant dialogue with the US Department of Veterans' Affairs," Ambassador Gaa said. "As of today, approximately 31,000 claims have been received and 1,661 checks have been sent to our veterans both here and in the Philippines, while another 242 have been approved and are about to have checks sent out," he added.

Citing information from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Ambassador Gaa confirmed that of the 31,000 claims filed, "the vast majority are now in the system and being processed."  He said that of the claims that are now being processed, "15,962 claims were filed in the Philippines while 7,407 were filed in the US."

"Right now the average time to process a claim is 46.6 days," Ambassador Gaa stated.

"We are very grateful to all those who have been instrumental in ensuring the implementation of this monumental measure.  We understand the great care that must go into this process to ensure that the benefits go only to those truly deserving. But I would also like to express the hope that given the situation our veterans are facing, that the time our veterans have to wait to receive their benefits could be reasonably reduced," the Ambassador said.

Ambassador Gaa also welcomed the inclusion of funding for the Filipino Veterans Equity Fund in the 2010 proposed budget submitted by President Barack Obama to the US Congress last May 7.

"The inclusion of funding for our veterans in the 2010 budget proposed by President Obama not only assured continued appropriations for their benefits but also reiterates the importance the current administration gives to the contribution, courage and sacrifices of our Filipino veterans of World War II," Ambassador Gaa said. END.