Palace intervenes in US Filipinos’ woes

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MALACAÑANG on Tuesday vowed assistance to some 300,000 undocumented Filipinos in the United States who are facing possible deportation, although it said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will work to prevent such a scenario.

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“We are committed to the principle of extending protection to all Filipino nationals wherever they may be and that is the approach that we are taking here,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

Coloma was reacting apparently to a report published by The Manila Times on Tuesday that a huge number of US-based Filipinos may be deported unless Washington grants them Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said he had asked US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg to support the request on “humanitarian” grounds.

Majority of those who would be affected come from the Super Typhoon Yolanda-ravaged cities and municipalities in Central Visayas, it was learned.

Coloma, in a news briefing, gave the assurance that the Philippine government is ready to assist the distressed Filipinos.

“All we need is to verify this information and we have asked the [DFA] to verify [it]this morning,” said the Palace official.

Coloma’s office forwarded a response from DFA spokesperson Charles Jose past noon also on Tuesday indicating that they have already “formally requested” a TPS for the Philippines.

“PH [the Philippines]on 13 December 2013 formally requested the US govt to designate the country under TPS to allow eligible Filipinos to stay [and]work in US in order for them to assist in PH’s continuing recovery efforts after the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Yolanda in Central Visayas,” Jose said.

“We are now awaiting the decision of the US government on this request,” he pointed out.

Evardone earlier took note of the much-needed remittances being sent by the Filipinos to their families in the Philippines.

“For humanitarian reasons, may I ask His Excellency to support and recommend to President [Barack] Obama the immediate approval of the Philippine government’s pending request for a Temporary Protected Status for undocumented Filipinos in the United States. Once the TPS designation is made, out-of-status Filipinos in the US could help fast-track our rebuilding efforts and economic recovery from the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda through their monthly remittances to their respective families,” Evardone said in his letter to Goldberg.

A TPS would defer the deportation of these Filipinos, thus enabling them to continue working in the US. It, however, does not grant them permanent resident status.

When asked if President Benigno Aquino 3rd may raise the issue with Obama during the US president’s visit to Manila on April 28, Coloma said there are certain protocols that have to be followed.

“We will verify from the Department of Foreign Affairs because these are issues that are taken up through diplomatic channels as well,” he explained.

It was learned that the Philippines’ request for TPS, as confirmed by Jose, is pending before the Office of Secretary of State John Kerry. Should Kerry approve it, the request would also have to go through the Department of Homeland Security for the TPS to take effect.

At least 20 American senators have already expressed support for the TPS request.

Meanwhile, Coloma said Aquino and Obama are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, probably including the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that will allow temporary basing rights for US troops in the country.

But he added that the agreement is yet to be wrapped up by the Philippine and US panels that are working on it.

“We can reasonably expect that the two heads of state will discuss topics of mutual concern in the aspects of defense and security, economic relations and other areas that are regularly considered by both countries,” the Palace official said.

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9 Comments

  1. Johnny Widener on

    I expect now that the Philippines government will reciprocate and allow all American citizens who have over stayed their visa to now stay in the Philippines legally and without threat of deportation. Yea right. They want everything to be one sided and are not concerned with fair play and justice.

  2. Mark Alfarez on

    I’m half Filipino and I do feel for the Filipinos here in the U.S. But the thing is I also hate illegal immigration, in fact I have made abrasive remarks on a Mexican message board that also speaks about immigration. Illegal Mexican immigrants are plenty in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc etc, and they drain the U.S economy by getting paid “under the table” for their work and don’t pay taxes as they don’t have a social security number. They are also very dependent on the health care system, racking up thousands of dollars for simple health care needs of their children by relying too much on emergency room visits, refusing to go to doctors offices because they don’t have medical insurance. I could go on and on. But illegal is illegal, and the law has to take its course….I say sorry kabayan, but I am for deportation…

  3. I don’t think the Philippine government can influence the decision of the US government.

  4. this is ridiculous. I have traveled to the philippines many times. Their immigration bureau is so strict and so tough. They Deport foreigners so often and so easily. Trust me if your are foreigner and u violate their immigration policy, over stay your Visa. They are quick to deport you and will show you no mercy. How hypocritical that their government is now trying to stop the USA from deporting 300,000 fillipinos who are in the US illegally. I recommend that USA shows no mercy and immediately deport all 300,000. Their country shows no mercy to other foreigners who violate their immigration policy why should the USA show them mercy. There are so many fillipinos in the USA who have violated our immigration policy and we have not deported them. we let them stay and let them work. I like the phillppines and luv the people but i just despise the way they treat foreigners on immigration issues then expect us to show them mercy.

  5. Hambog na naman ang gobyerno ng Pinas. Sa totoo lang, inutil ito as far as the fate of the filipinos abroad – they are left on their own. Pwehhhhhh – kaya tiis na lumalabas na lang ng PH ang nakikitang pag-asa ng mga ating kababayan para kumita at matikman ang kaunting sagana. Philippine Government ? – kurakot, yabang, KAPALMUKS, hilig sumakay, at bulok……….DYAHI SOBRA!!!!!

  6. If you have people in the philippines illegally do you treat them in the same way, no of course you dont you would 1st jail them then deport them. So why do you expect america to treat them as honest decent citizens. They have violated american law, they are there illegally. In the philippines you show no mercy to people like that yet because these criminals are filipinos in another country you want them to have special treatment, talk about hypocrisy & double standards.

    • Honorio Cabanilla on

      The illegality of the stay of Filipinos who came to the US and continued to live here without the necessary documentation is not a crime. So they can not be tried in court for criminal violations. Accordingly, they can’t be can not incarcerated for this reason.

    • I agree with rapidvisa. There are lots of Filipinos who are trying to go to the US legally and they have been waiting for a long time. Those who went to the US illegally should have been deported once they were caught. One reason why people do things illegal is because they always think they can get away with it. Not only like this case but reading the Philippine news.