Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Patience waning for Guam war reparations

Patience waning for Guam war reparations

Posted: Feb 03, 2010 3:38 PM
Updated: Feb 03, 2010 7:02 PM

by Nick Delgado

Guam - While the fight for war reparations continues, the numbers of survivors speaking out for this compensation continues to drop. It's an issue that only about a handful of people came to provide testimony today before the Guam Legislature.

Although only a few survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam came out to provide testimony on Bill 274, and shared support for the measure, it's clear that their patience is wearing thin. Joe Garrido said, "The many efforts that were done by the first delegate up to the present delegate have not been successful," adding, "and my experience is that I think we got a 50/50 chance that that either that bill will be shot down next budget hearing and never get war reparations from the United States."

The measure up for discussion today would establish the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Commission for the purposes of bringing together island leaders and survivors of the community to aggressively pursue the endorsement and passage of the Guam war reparations legislation. Garrido says while he understands that we're struggling to find ways to put the bill on the table of Congress before the next budget hearing, he argues that something must be done as he says their rights are being ignored.

He said, "I don't understand why we continue to deny ourselves the rights that we are requesting to be recognized in front of Congress is human rights, not civil rights," he said.

Vicente Garrido, who also showed support for the bill, has concerns with the word loyalty being used in this situation. He also urges all island leaders to write a letter to Congress demanding that they give the war reparations now. "We cannot continue to keep telling Uncle Sam, how many times we have to say 'loyalty' [sic]. The war reparations are long overdue and its time for Congress to settle this once and for all," he professed.

Meanwhile, Tom Barcinas, who recently went before the U.S. House Armed Service Committee in Washington, DC to present his testimony, remains optimistic that war reparations will come soon. He said, "Definitely, it's been too long, and it's just been dragging on so long. But I think we're beginning to see that eventually this thing will be resolved."

In the meantime, the House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow at 1am Guam time to receive testimony on the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Budget request from the Department of Defense. Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has said she is working to include war claims in this measure since they were left out in the 2010 version because of concerns from senators Carl Levin and John McCain.

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