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US gov't vows to assist in Filipino veteran payments

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama's administration pledged Wednesday to reach out to Filipinos seeking payments for World War II service after complaints from veterans over denied claims.

More than 250,000 Filipinos fought under the U.S. flag in World War II but Congress later stripped them of promised benefits, leaving bitterness in the former colony and decades of campaigning to change U.S. policy.

Weeks after Obama took office in 2009, Congress approved a stimulus package that included one-time payments of US$15,000 to Filipino veterans in the United States and US$9,000 to those living in the Philippines.

Obama aide Chris Lu, co-chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said that 18,000 claims have been approved.

“However, we also have heard from many Filipino veterans who have been impeded from filing claims or believe their claims were improperly denied,” Lu wrote on a White House blog.

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