Survivor seeks legal action for reparations - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Survivor seeks legal action for reparations

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - On this day in 1941, mass was interrupted by news that World War II had reached our island's shores, today's service was held to finish that mass and allow survivors of the Japanese Occupation to share their experiences. But just as that mass more than 60 years ago went unfinished so, too, is the issue of war reparations.

"They are treating us like animals, like monkeys," proclaimed Bert Unpingco. "Because we are low on the totem pole as far as the concerns to the American government."  After hearing that war claims may not be included in this year's National Defense Authorization Act, World War II survivors like him are done waiting for politicians to help them get what's owed.  "I'm going to help bring it to the court...if we are entitled then an order can be made to force the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate to pay us," he stated.

Unpingco says before bringing the matter to court he will circulate a petition first.

As for other survivors like Frank Diaz he says those dark days in Guam was a time of slavery, and like Unpingco, blames the senate for the delay for war reparations. "Every time they get together they just turn the congresswoman down, if you ask them for their vote they just turn her down so in other words I'm pretty sure we're not going to get nothing from United States, I'm pretty sure 100%."

While Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says she will continue to work to have H.R. 44 included in the Senate's version of the bill. The measure is delayed because of a provision that would repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Survivor Rita Santos Cruz says the issue just needs to be resolved, telling KUAM News, "Our movement is not about money, it's all about closure to this chapter of our lives we feel that we've been neglected by the federal government that they sold us, traded us with the Japanese imperial government without out knowledge and we as Chamorros we feel that we must stand up for the right thing."

Today's event, "Take My Hand: Remembering How the War Began: Promoting Peace in Our Land", was hosted by the Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation in partnership with the Archdiocese of Agana and several community groups.

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