Monday, May 31, 2010
A Filipino Veteran Remembered
NEW YORK - On Memorial Day millions of American families and friends remember and honor the sacrifices of their fallen warriors. Filipinos in the United States also fondly recall their fallen like World War II veteran Pacifico “Tatay” Timbol, who passed away on May 18.
Timbol was the longtime commander of the American Legion Douglas MacArthur Post in Woodside NYC with more than a dozen elderly Filipino veteran members. Over the past decade, Timbol and comrades were regular parade marchers in the Philippine Independence Day festivals on Madison Avenue. They often visited Capitol Hill in Washington to lobby for their equity benefits and family reunification bills.
Timbol's widow Rosalina and two daughters, Marilu and Carolyn, welcomed more than seventy guests during his May 21 farewell mass in a funeral home in their immigrant neighborhood.
According to the widow, "Tatay" Timbol was born Dec. 5, 1922 in Concepcion Tarlac. During World War II, Timbol was wounded in leg in battle and was held as a prisoner-of-war. There was also a movie script entitled "Kilabot ng Hapon" (Feared by the Japanese) featuring Timbol’s WWII exploits. Rosalina remembered their first meeting and feeding him as a guerrilla when he visited her family. They have seven children and “about eighteen grandchildren.” He worked after the war as a rail inspector for the Tutuban railroad and became a business man in real estate. One of his four sons is Edgardo Timbol, a current town mayor in Davao Del Norte province.
Father Neil Villaviza, a close friend and kabayan from Tarlac, officiated the mass. In his homily, Villaviza said, “Tatay has finally surrendered to God, even his sins. He has returned to his beginning.” Villariza asked his audience to celebrate Tatay’s life and legacy with the loving family.
Legionnaires: Rafael De Peralta, Jesus Novoa, Paul Hipolito, Elpidio Ramos, Mario Lumida and Sonny Sampayan paid their respects to their departed commander. Sampayan, a retired US Air Force Desert Storm veteran, tearfully eulogized Timbol’s dedication and caring leadership in serving his low-income comrades to win US government recognition and veterans pensions. In previous years, Timbol organized his team who were dressed in blue Legion satin jackets to proudly march several blocks on Madison Avenue to draw attention for their campaign during veteran day parades.
Eric Lachica, the executive director of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, an advocacy group based in Arlington Virginia, also eulogized Timbol’s optimism and untiring leadership. Lachica recalled his last phone call three weeks earlier with Timbol who was released from the hospital. Despite his weak voice and failing health caused by prostate cancer, Timbol pleaded for ACFV’s to continue to assist his elderly members get their pension applications approved and to pass their Filipino Veterans Family Reunification bills in Congress this year.
Lachica urged the audience to honor Timbol’s memory by continuing his fight to persuade New York Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to champion the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification bill S. 2757 and H.R. 2412 now languishing in Congress. More than 20,000 sons and daughters of US citizen Filipino veterans have been waiting for more than 10 years with approved immigration petitions including several of Timbol’s children.
For details, visit the ACFV website: http://usfilvets.tripod.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Coalition for Filipino Veterans
(This Memorial Day, let's also thank people like Eric Lachica for their commendable and tireless advocacy for the veterans. -Yong)