Aged 70 and over, the veterans are waging a battle against time. Dying in the U.S. at the rate of two to three per day, many of the approximately 6,500 veterans living in L.A. are in failing health, living in shelters or rundown apartments, and receiving SSI and food stamps as their only income. According to Garcia, the denial of benefits "is the greatest form of discrimination inflicted on our community, especially in a country that professes to be democratic and freedom-loving. Quickly entering their twilight years, many will be gone in 10 years."
Encouraged by growing support, Faustino Baclig, a 77-year-old death-march survivor and regional director of ACFV, feels certain that the U.S. government will realize its "mistake" and restore full benefits. "We did not lose hope in Bataan, in Corregidor and during our two years of guerrilla warfare, even when we were ordered to surrender, so we will not lose hope this time."