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US government honors Filipinos in celebration of Filipino American History Month

By NICK GARCIA Published Oct 03, 2023 11:44 am

The United States government is honoring Filipino-blooded individuals in celebration of Filipino American History Month this October.

On X (formerly Twitter), the White House said Filipinos and Filipino Americans have helped forge the "very idea of America."

"This Filipino American History Month, the Biden-Harris Administration is proud to honor generations of Filipino Americans who have ensured our nation remains a land of hope, opportunity, and optimism," it said.

Vice President Kamala Harris, in a tweet, noted how Filipino Americans contribute to the nation's success "every single day."

"During Filipino American History Month, our Administration celebrates the important role that Filipino Americans have played and continue to play in the American story," she added.

The educational television series Sesame Street, meanwhile, is also commemorating Filipino American History Month.

A video showed Filipino-born Eugene Cordero, Cookie Monster, and TJ talking about the Filipino word "ayos," which means "okay" in English. Addressing the viewers, Eugene said they're celebrating the amazing and rich history of the Filipino-American community.

"Let's celebrate our culture today and every day," TJ said.

"It's a celebration and you know what that means. Biskuwit!" Cookie Monster added.

According to the National World War II Museum website, the US Congress in 2009 designated October as Filipino American History Month to commemorate and appreciate the Filipino experience throughout American history.

In 1898, the Treaty of Paris took place, in which Spain surrendered control of the Philippines to the United States as a colony.

The Philippine Commonwealth was established as a US protectorate in 1935, intended to be a fully independent nation after a 10-year transitionary period. Filipinos were US nationals by law, though not afforded the same benefits as US citizens.

In 1941, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a presidential order nationalizing the Philippine Commonwealth military and placing them under the command of General Douglas MacArthur in the US Army Forces in the Far East amid the deterioration of Japanese-US relations.

During the Japanese occupation, some 260,000 Filipinos served under US command in the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the Philippine Scouts, and even guerrilla units.

In 2016, Filipino veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service during World War II.

"Citizen or otherwise, the service of Filipinos during the conflict is an integral component to commemorating Filipino American History Month," the National World War II Museum website said.