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Overview of Filipino Veterans' Benefits

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Publication Date: February 2009

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL33876

Topic: Military and defense (Veterans)

Coverage: Philippines


The United States has had a continuous relationship with the Philippine Islands since they were acquired in 1898 by the United States as a result of the Spanish-American War. Moreover, Filipinos have served in and with the U.S. Armed Forces since the time of the Spanish-American War, and especially during World War II. The Islands remained a possession of the United States until 1946.

Since 1946, Congress has passed several laws affecting various categories of Filipino veterans. Many of these laws have been liberalizing laws that have provided Filipino World War II veterans with medical and monetary benefits similar to benefits available to U.S. veterans.

However, not all veterans' benefits have been available to Filipino Commonwealth Army veterans, veterans of Recognized Guerrilla forces, and New Philippine Scouts. In the 110th Congress, two measures, H.R. 760 and S. 57, have been introduced that would eliminate the distinction between the Regular, or "Old," Philippine Scouts and the other three groups of veterans -- the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, Recognized Guerrilla Forces, and New Philippine Scouts -- making them all fully eligible for veterans' benefits similar to those received by U.S. veterans.

This report provides an overview of major Filipino veterans legislation enacted by Congress from 1946 through 2003. The report begins by defining the specific groups of Filipino nationals who served under the command of the United States, and then outlines the Rescission Acts of 1946, benefit expansions from 1948 onward, and recent legislative proposals. It will be updated as legislative events warrant.