Text: S.1555 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-265 (12/14/2016)

[114th Congress Public Law 265]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

[[Page 130 STAT. 1376]]


Public Law 114-265
114th Congress

                                 An Act

   To award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the Filipino 
veterans of World War II, in recognition of the dedicated service of the 
   veterans during World War II. <<NOTE: Dec. 14, 2016 -  [S. 1555]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Filipino 
Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015. 31 USC 
5111 note.>> 

    This Act may be cited as the ``Filipino Veterans of World War II 
Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015''.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The First Philippine Republic was founded as a result of 
        the Spanish-American War in which Filipino revolutionaries and 
        the United States Armed Forces fought to overthrow Spanish 
        colonial rule. On June 12, 1898, Filipinos declared the 
        Philippines to be an independent and sovereign nation. The 
        Treaty of Paris negotiated between the United States and Spain 
        ignored this declaration of independence, and the United States 
        paid Spain $20,000,000 to cede control of the Philippines to the 
        United States. Filipino nationalists who sought independence 
        rather than a change in colonial rulers clashed with forces of 
        the United States in the Islands. The Philippine-American War, 
        which officially lasted for 3 years from 1899 to 1902, led to 
        the establishment of the United States civil government in the 
            (2) In 1901, units of Filipino soldiers who fought for the 
        United States against the nationalist insurrection were formally 
        incorporated into the United States Army as the Philippine 
            (3) In 1934, the Philippine Independence Act (Public Law 73-
        127; 48 Stat. 456) established a timetable for ending colonial 
        rule of the United States. Between 1934 and Philippine 
        independence in 1946, the United States retained sovereignty 
        over Philippine foreign policy and reserved the right to call 
        Filipinos into the service of the United States Armed Forces.
            (4) On December 21 1935, President of the Philippine 
        Commonwealth, Manuel Quezon, signed the National Defense Act, 
        passed by the Philippine Assembly. General Douglas MacArthur set 
        upon the task of creating an independent army in the 
        Philippines, consisting of a small regular force, the Philippine 
        Constabulary, a police force created during the colonial period 
        of the United States, and reservists. By July 1941, the 
        Philippine army had 130,000 reservists and 6,000 officers.

[[Page 130 STAT. 1377]]

            (5) On July 26, 1941, as tensions with Japan rose in the 
        Pacific, President Franklin D. Roosevelt used his authority 
        vested in the Constitution of the United States and the 
        Philippine Independence Act to ``call into service of the United 
        States . . . all of the organized military forces of the 
        Government of the Philippines.'' On July 27th, 1941, in 
        accordance with a War Department directive received a day 
        earlier, the United States Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) was 
        established, and Manila was designated as the command 
        headquarters. Commander of the USAFFE, General Douglas 
        MacArthur, planned to absorb the entire Philippine army into the 
        USAFFE in phases. The first phase, which began on September 1, 
        1941, included 25,000 men and 4,000 officers.
            (6) Filipinos who served in the USAFFE included--
                    (A) the Philippine Scouts, who comprised half of the 
                22,532 soldiers in the Philippine Department, or United 
                States Army garrison stationed in the Islands at the 
                start of the war;
                    (B) the Philippine Commonwealth Army;
                    (C) the new Philippine Scouts, or Filipinos who 
                volunteered to serve with the United States Army when 
                the United States Armed Forces returned to the island;
                    (D) Filipino civilians who volunteered to serve in 
                the United States Armed Forces in 1945 and 1946, and who 
                became ``attached'' to various units of the United 
                States Army; and
                    (E) the ``Guerrilla Services'' who had fought behind 
                enemy lines throughout the war.
            (7) Even after hostilities ceased, wartime service of the 
        new Philippine Scouts continued as a matter of law until the end 
        of 1946, and the force gradually disbanded until it was 
        disestablished in 1950.
            (8) On December 8th, 1941, not even 24 hours after the 
        bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Imperial forces attacked bases 
        of the United States Army in the Philippines.
            (9) In the spring of 1942, the Japanese 14th Army overran 
        the Bataan Peninsula, and, after a heroic but futile defense, 
        more than 78,000 members of the United States Armed Forces were 
        captured, specifically 66,000 Filipinos and 12,000 service 
        members from the United States. The Japanese transferred the 
        captured soldiers from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell, in what is now 
        known as the infamous Bataan Death March. Forced to march the 
        70-mile distance in 1 week, without adequate food, water, or 
        medicine, nearly 700 members of the United States Armed Forces 
        and an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 Filipinos perished during the 
            (10) After the fall of the Bataan Peninsula, the Japanese 
        Army turned its sights on Corregidor. The estimated forces in 
        defense of Corregidor totaled 13,000, and were comprised of 
        members of the United States Armed Forces and Filipino troops. 
        Of this number, 800 were killed, 1,000 were wounded, and 11,000 
        were captured and forced to march through the city of Manila, 
        after which the captured troops were distributed to various POW 
        camps. The rest of the captured troops escaped to organize or 
        join an underground guerrilla army.
            (11) Even before the fall of Corregidor, Philippine 
        resistance, in the form of guerrilla armies, began to wage 

[[Page 130 STAT. 1378]]

        on the Japanese invaders. Guerrilla armies, from Northern Luzon 
        to Mindanao--
                    (A) raided Japanese camps, stealing weapons and 
                    (B) sabotaged and ambushed Japanese troops on the 
                move; and
                    (C) with little weaponry, and severely outmatched in 
                numbers, began to extract victories.
            (12) Japanese intelligence reports reveal that from the time 
        the Japanese invaded until the return of the United States Armed 
        Forces in the summer of 1944, an estimated 300,000 Filipinos 
        continued to fight against Japanese forces. Filipino resistance 
        against the Japanese was so strong that, in 1942, the Imperial 
        Army formed the Morista Butai, a unit designated to suppress 
            (13) Because Philippine guerrillas worked to restore 
        communication with United States forces in the Pacific, General 
        MacArthur was able to use the guerrillas in advance of a 
        conventional operation and provided the headquarters of General 
        MacArthur with valuable information. Guerrillas captured and 
        transmitted to the headquarters of General MacArthur Japanese 
        naval plans for the Central Pacific, including defense plans for 
        the Mariana Islands. Intelligence derived from guerrillas 
        relating to aircraft, ship, and troop movements allowed for 
        Allied forces to attack Japanese supply lines and guerrillas and 
        even directed United States submarines where to land agents and 
        cargo on the Philippine coast.
            (14) On December 20, 1941, President Roosevelt signed the 
        Selective Training and Service Amendments Act (Public Law 77-
        360; 55 Stat. 844) which, among other things, allowed Filipinos 
        in the United States to enlist in the United States Armed 
        Forces. In February 1942, President Roosevelt issued the Second 
        War Powers Act (Public Law 77-507; 56 Stat. 176), promising a 
        simplified naturalization process for Filipinos who served in 
        the United States Armed Forces. Subsequently, 16,000 Filipinos 
        in California alone decided to enlist.
            (15) The mobilization of forces included the activation and 
        assumption of command of the First Filipino Infantry Battalion 
        on April 1, 1942, at Camp San Luis Obispo, California. Orders 
        were issued to activate the First Filipino Infantry Regiment and 
        Band at Salinas, California, effective July 13, 1942. The 
        activation of the Second Filipino Infantry Regiment occurred at 
        Fort Ord, California, on November 21, 1942. Nearly 9,000 
        Filipinos and Filipino Americans fought in the United States 
        Army 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments.
            (16) Soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments 
        participated in the bloody combat and mop-up operations at New 
        Guinea, Leyte, Samar, Luzon, and the Southern Philippines. In 
        1943, 800 men were selected from the 1st and 2nd Regiments and 
        shipped to Australia to receive training in intelligence 
        gathering, sabotage, and demolition. Reorganized as part of the 
        1st Reconnaissance Battalion, this group was sent to the 
        Philippines to coordinate with major guerrilla armies in the 
        Islands. Members of the 1st Regiment were also attached to the 
        United States 6th Army ``Alamo Scouts'', a reconnaissance group 
        that traveled 30 miles behind enemy lines to free Allied 
        prisoners from the Cabanatuan death camp on January 30,

[[Page 130 STAT. 1379]]

        1945. In addition, in 1945, according to the 441st Counter 
        Intelligence Unit of the United States Armed Forces, Philippine 
        guerrillas provided ``very important information and sketches of 
        enemy positions and installations'' for the liberation of the 
        Santo Tomas prisoner of war camp, an event that made front page 
        news across the United States.
            (17) In March 1944, members of the 2nd Filipino Infantry 
        Regiment were selected for special assignments, including 
        intelligence missions, and reorganized as the 2nd Filipino 
        Infantry Battalion (Separate). The 2nd Filipino Infantry 
        Battalion (Separate) contributed to mop-up operations as a civil 
        affairs unit.
            (18) Filipinos participated in the war out of national 
        pride, as well as out of a commitment to the Allied forces 
        struggle against fascism. 57,000 Filipinos in uniform died in 
        the war effort. Estimates of civilian deaths range from 700,000 
        to upwards of 1,000,000, or between 4.38 to 6.25 percent of the 
        prewar population of 16,000,000.
            (19) Because Filipinos who served in the Commonwealth Army 
        of the Philippines were originally considered a part of the 
        Allied struggle, the military order issued by President 
        Roosevelt on July 26, 1941, stated that Filipinos who served in 
        the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines were entitled to full 
        veterans benefits. The guarantee to pay back the service of 
        Filipinos through veterans benefits was reversed by the 
        Rescission Acts of 1946 (Public Laws 79-301 and 79-391; 60 Stat. 
        6 and 60 Stat. 221), which deemed that the wartime service of 
        the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines and the new Philippine 
        Scouts was not considered active and, therefore, did not qualify 
        for benefits.
            (20) The loyal and valiant Filipino Veterans of World War II 
        fought, suffered, and, in many instances, died in the same 
        manner and under the same commander as other members of the 
        United States Armed Forces during World War II.
            (21) The Filipino Veterans of World War II fought alongside, 
        and as an integral part of, the United States Armed Forces. The 
        Philippines remained a territory of the United States for the 
        duration of the war and, accordingly, the United States 
        maintained sovereignty over Philippine foreign relations, 
        including Philippine laws enacted by the Philippine Government. 
        Filipinos who fought in the Philippines were not only defending 
        or fighting for the Philippines, but also defending, and 
        ultimately liberating, sovereign territory held by the United 
        States Government.
            (22) The United States remains forever indebted to the 
        bravery, valor, and dedication that the Filipino Veterans of 
        World War II displayed. Their commitment and sacrifice 
        demonstrates a highly uncommon and commendable sense of 
        patriotism and honor.

    In this Act--
     (a) the term ``Filipino Veterans of World War II'' includes any 
individual who served--
            (1) <<NOTE: Time period.>> honorably at any time during the 
        period beginning on July 26, 1941, and ending on December 31, 
            (2) in an active-duty status under the command of the United 
        States Armed Forces in the Far East; and

[[Page 130 STAT. 1380]]

            (3)(A) within the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the 
        Philippine Scouts, the Philippine Constabulary, Recognized 
        Guerrilla units, the New Philippine Scouts, the First Filipino 
        Infantry Regiment, the Second Filipino Infantry Battalion 
        (Separate), or the First Reconnaissance Battalion; or
            (B) commanding or serving in a unit described in paragraph 
        (3)(A) as a United States military officer or enlisted soldier; 

    (b) the term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Treasury.

    (a) Award Authorized.--The President pro tempore of the Senate and 
the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate 
arrangements for the award, on behalf of Congress, of a single gold 
medal of appropriate design to the Filipino Veterans of World War II in 
recognition of the dedicated service of the veterans during World War 
    (b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to 
in subsection (a), the Secretary shall strike the Gold Medal with 
suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the 
    (c) Smithsonian Institution.--
            (1) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal in 
        honor of the Filipino Veterans of World War II, the gold medal 
        shall be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be 
        available for display as appropriate and made available for 
            (2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the 
        Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal received 
        under paragraph (1) available for display elsewhere, 
        particularly at other appropriate locations associated with the 
        Filipino Veterans of World War II.

    (d) Duplicate Medals.--
            (1) In general.--Under regulations that the Secretary may 
        promulgate, the Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in 
        bronze of the gold medal struck under this Act, at a price 
        sufficient to cover the costs of the medals, including labor, 
        materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses.
            (2) Sale of duplicate medals.--The amounts received from the 
        sale of duplicate medals under paragraph (1) shall be deposited 
        in the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.

    (a) National Medals.--Medals struck under this Act are national 
medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

[[Page 130 STAT. 1381]]

    (b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31, 
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered 
to be numismatic items.

    Approved December 14, 2016.


            July 13, considered and passed Senate.
            Nov. 30, considered and passed House.