Veterans in Philippines will not receive health care-related travel expenses, but will not have to repay expenses mistakenly paid. Since 2008, VA regulations no longer permit the reimbursement of Veterans' travel expenses for health care visits and compensation-and-pension examinations in the Philippines. However, the U.S. VA Manila Outpatient Clinic, in the Philippines, continued to provide such travel payments to the present. VA announced today that, effective October 1, 2017, it will discontinue providing any travel expenses in the Philippines, and it will not require Veterans to repay travel expenses that were coordinated by the Manila clinic from 2008-2017.
WASHINGTON — The Senate passed legislation Wednesday that veteran advocates are describing as the largest expansion of veterans education benefits in a decade. With senators’ unanimous consent, the bill moves to President Donald J. Trumps desk to become law.
The measure passed through committees and cleared the House and Senate just 20 days after it was introduced. Among other things, it will end a 15-year limit for veterans to use their education benefits, restore benefits to veterans whose schools abruptly close and fix a Pentagon deployment authorization that has kept about 5,000 reservists from accumulating earned education benefits.
THE ESSAY IS ABOUT TWO CHURCH BELLS ON AN AIR FORCE BASE IN WYOMING THAT WERE BROUGHT THERE IN 1904 ABSENT LEGAL OR MORAL AUTHORITY; FROM A PHILIPPINE CATHOLIC CHURCH BELFRY DESTROYED NOT BY WAR BUT BY RETALIATION; WHO REST IN CONTRAST TO THE TREATMENT THE UNITED STATES ACCORDS FORMER ENEMIES AND THE RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL PROPERTY OF OTHER NATIONS; AND WHOSE RETURN TO THEIR CHURCH WOULD MEET THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF AMERICAN MILITARY ETHOS AND HONOR.
HE BELLS OF BALANGIGA Reflection and Introspection By Dan McKinnon Veterans Day 2015/2016
“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.”
In 1998 retired U. S. Air Force Colonel Gerald M. Adams published a booklet, “The Bells of Balangiga”. It was printed in Cheyenne, Wyoming and described the history of two bells taken from the ruble of a burned church belfry in the Philippines and brought to Fort D. A. Russell in 1904. Today they reside on F. E. Warren Air Force Base in a brick wall structure on Trophy Park, a grassy triangle near historic officers’ quarters. Gerry Adams enjoyed local history, wrote first about the bells for the Annals of Wyoming in 1987, and authored other historical articles. Colonel Adams is no longer with us. I wish he was. I too love history. I dedicate this essay to him and all the others who cared for, or care about, the Bells of Balangiga….most especially Ms. E. Jean Wall. (Published and widely circulated in 2015 and updated in 2016 and 2017.)
This story and interest in the bells begins in 2010 when a friend, retired U. S. Navy Captain Dennis Wright, contacted me about an abandoned American military cemetery in the Philippines. After leaving the Navy Dennis spent several years in the Middle East working for firms supporting the U.S. Gulf War effort. From that experience and with other veterans he formed an engineering development company that won a large construction contract at the site of the former Clark U.S. Air Force (USAF) Base in the Philippines. Clark had been the largest USAF installation outside the U.S., famous to many veterans from World War Two when it was bombed along with Pearl Harbor and Wake Island, and equally renowned throughout the Korean, Vietnam and early Gulf wars. The USAF commenced moving its units out of the country just before nearby volcano Mount Pinatubo exploded on June 15, 1991. As a result of the eruption and coincidental arrival of typhoon Yunya or Diding, what was left of the base was turned over to the Philippine Air Force in November. At the same time, the Philippine Senate failed to ratify the new Military Bases Agreement which would had extended the Navy presence in Subic Bay for another decade. For reasons lost in history, the USAF military cemetery at Clark was forgotten and abandoned. For more click here.
Our Central Luzon Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a luncheon for Ambassador Sung Kim on Thursday, August 17th at the Royce Hotel on Clark. It is open to anyone interested in coming to hear our Ambassador speak and answer questions. You do not have to be a member of AMCHAM to attend, it is open to all. There is a modest luncheon cost. All we ask is that you RSVP/Register either on-line through the links embedded in this email below or directly to Jaysen S. Venzon at email@example.com.
Please feel free to route or share this email with our veteran and American community and others, it promises to be a wonderful luncheon with a great guest speaker. Again, you DO NOT need to be a member to attend.