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WW2 Fil Am vets pin hopes on 'Family reunification bill' | 05/26/2009 8:57 PM

A bill seeking to reunite Filipino war veterans with their families has been reintroduced in US Congress.

Filipino World War II veteran Justino Lauzon is 83 years old. For 13 years, Lauzon has been living apart from his 11 children, who are still in the Philippines.

“Sa totoo lang, gusto ko nang umuwi. Maski mahirap pa sa atin. Pero nandoon ang pamilya. Lalo na itong kalagayan ko ngayon na nag-iisa na lang,” Lauzon said.

Lauzon was widowed last year and now finds life in America pretty lonely. He chose to stay because he wants his children to have a better life in the US.

“Ang pinagdaanan ko, kami ay walang-wala,” he said.

He has yet to get a reply from US immigration officials on the petition he filed for his children in 1996.

Meanwhile, Ceferino Palad petitioned for his two children in 1992. The 83-year-old said he needs his children now.

“Medyo may kahirapan nga lalo kung may kapansanang ganito. Pupunta ka sa ospital di ka makapunta kaagad,” Palad said.

The Filipino veterans' wait could soon be over after Hawaii 2nd district Rep. Mazie Hirono re-filed the Veterans Family Reunification Act which aims to speed up the processing of immigration visas for the veterans' children.

Hirona said a companion bill would soon be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii.

“Siguro naman si President Obama ay hindi maipagkakait ‘yon dahil sa no money involved doon," said Palad.

Both Pinoy veterans hope the bill passes before they die because once the petitioner dies, the petition dies with them. They added that they will use their respective lumpsum payments worth US$15,000 to help their children settle in the US. Reports from Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

as of 05/26/2009 11:41 PM

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