Remarks Upon Signing Bill Providing Benefits for Philippine War Veterans
Chairman Teague, Administrator Driver, Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen:
When President Marcos of the Philippines visited us a short time ago, he talked to me about a number of inequities and injustices which the passage of time had brought to our Filipino allies. I urged the Congress to correct these unintentional inequities as promptly as they could.
The Congress responded wholeheartedly. So, today, we have come here to sign the last of three measures enacted by the Congress since President Marcos' visit to deal with these inequities.
The first act expands educational benefits for children of diseased and disabled war veterans; the second act provides greater hospital and medical benefits for Filipino veterans.
But this act, I think, is by far the most far-reaching.
This measure deals specifically with two matters of importance to Filipino veterans. It will enable us to refund to them wartime insurance premiums, which they need not have paid, but which were collected in error during those hectic and confusing days of the Second World War. It will also restore to them the full amount of benefits that were originally intended in 1946.
Due to changes over the years in the relative value of the Philippine peso and the U.S. dollar, their actual benefits have been greatly reduced. This measure allows us to restore the cash value of their benefits to what was intended by the original legislation.
This bill, like the two which came before it, is the direct result of the very fine work done by the joint United States-Republic of the Philippines Commission on the Study of Philippines Veterans' Problems.
I would like here to publicly express my personal appreciation to all the fine members of that Commission, especially to General George Decker, the Chairman of the U.S. participants, and my old friend Congressman Olin Teague, the Vice Chairman, for their leadership and for their very dedicated efforts.
I also want to mention three distinguished lawmakers who were instrumental in making this legislation a reality: Senator Mansfield, Senator Randolph, and our own beloved House Majority Leader Carl Albert, who cannot be here with us this morning because he is indisposed in the Bethesda Hospital.
The relationship between the United States and our friends in the Philippines is both warm and historic. Twenty-five years ago we shared together the shock of violent aggression. Together we persevered, through the long night of war, until we emerged--together--into the hard-won sunlight of victory and peace. We are very pleased to find ourselves united again today in our determination to secure a true and a lasting peace among all of our fellow nations of the Pacific.
Our mutual search for peace among our neighbors must always rest, to a very large degree, upon the trust and confidence we have in one another. I am especially pleased to sign this measure today because, in addition to its tangible benefits to many thousands of most deserving and patriotic Filipino veterans, I believe that it forges still another link in the strong chain of friendship which unites our two Republics.
I am looking forward, along with Mrs. Johnson, with a great deal of pleasure to visiting in the Philippines in the next few days. We will apply all the talent, energy, and efforts that we have in an attempt to bring together the united spirit that is necessary if we are to have peace in the world.
To all of you Members of Congress, from both parties, who have participated in passing this very just and long overdue legislation, I say the American people not only thank you, but the Filipino people thank you. We are grateful for another job well done.
Note: The President spoke at 12:20 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Representative Olin E. Teague of Texas, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and W. J. [)river, Administrator of Veterans Affairs. Later he referred to, among others, Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, Senate majority leader, Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, and Representative Carl Albert of Oklahoma, majority leader of the House of Representatives.
As enacted, the bill (H.R. 16557), providing benefits for Philippine veterans, is Public Law 89-641 (80 Stat. 884).
For a statement by the President upon signing the two earlier bills benefiting Philippine veterans, see Item 495.
President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines visited the United States in September 1966 (see Items 458, 459, 461).
Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Providing Benefits for Philippine War Veterans Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238307