Visiting Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been briefed on a campaign by Hawaii’s two senators to get compensation promised six decades ago to Filipino soldiers who fought for the US during World War II.
One of the senators, Daniel Inouye, has inserted US$198 million for them into the economic stimulus bill making its way through the US Senate. Inouye is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
It was uncertain whether the money remained in the bill that Senate negotiators apparently agreed to on Friday night.
Arroyo met on Friday with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but a State Department official who spoke about the meeting did not mention the Filipino veterans and their long drive for compensation.
The two exchanged compliments when they greeted each other outside the State Department.
Arroyo congratulated Clinton on her new job.
“I am very happy to be here to congratulate you on your appointment and your love fest of a confirmation,” the Philippine president said, and Clinton laughed.
Clinton described the Philippines, a former US commonwealth in Southeast Asia, as “one of our closest and most important allies, not just in Asia, but on so many issues around the world.”
A State Department official who outlined their private talks did not indicate that they discussed the Filipino veterans.
About 200,000 Filipinos served alongside US soldiers to defend the Philippines, then a US commonwealth, from the 1941 Japanese invasion and to resist subsequent Japanese occupation.