February 14, 2009, United States lawmakers are praised by President Arroyo for correcting a "historic wrong" by maintaining a provision in the $787 billion stimulus bill, granting recognition and lump sum benefits to Filipino World War II veterans. The stimulus bill included an eight-page provision that grants benefits to Filipino WW II veterans, amounting to $198 million.
Mrs. Arroyo said in a statement that Despite America's economic challenges, the US Congress still voted to correct a historic wrong and incorporate the lump-sum benefit for the Filipino veterans. The President also said that it is fitting that they honored the past as they build for the future.
The provision grants a one-time and tax-free $15,000 for Filipino veterans who have become US citizens and $9,000 for non-US citizens that will be including those living in the Philippines.
The Philippine President also said that Equity for the Philippine veterans of World War II is at hand and the passage of the bill in Congress culminates the many years of struggle that we have waged. The Philippine President also looks forward to the signing of the stimulus bill by President Barack Obama who has also been a strong supporter of the Filipino Veterans. The stimulus bill has been handed to the White House and awaits the signature of President Barack Obama.
Mrs. Arroyo also expressed gratitude to US congress leaders and lawmakers, including Sen. Daniel Akaka, Rep. Bob Filner, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Richard Lugar, former senator Ted Stevens, Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Mike Honda for pushing for the passage of the "FilVets equity" provision.
She said the success of the equity provision became possible for the efforts of Filipinos and Americans who diligently petitioned the US congress for years.
President Arroyo then said this statement: "And to our veterans, thank you for your love of country, for defending our nation, for your sacrifice and for inspiring all of us to carry on the fight for justice."