THE Philippines has requested the United States, among other things, (1) to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Philippine nationals and (2) to provide drone technology to the Philippines to help us to frustrate China’s aggressive moves to grab Philippine territory and valuable marine and energy resources.
We agree with the call of an influential Filipino organization in the United States, the US Pinoys for Good Governance (or USP4GG) whose chairwoman is the famous and admired Ms. Loida Nicolas Lewis, for President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino 3rd to persuade President Barack Obama to grant us these two requests.
The granting of the TPS will greatly help a lot of Filipinos in America who are in distress because theirs are temporary visas. Some are in a worse fix–they are not in the USA legally, they have no visas, they are the TNTs (tago ng tago from the authorities). The Filipinos in the US holding temporary visas are mostly students, visitors, and business people. They, and the TNTs, would be relieved of their grave worries—about being able to continue staying in the US, to obtain proper work permits and permits to travel abroad securely guaranteed that they can return to their homes in America.
The US’s Temporary Protected Status Law was passed by the US Congress as a humanitarian act. It allows America to accommodate citizens of other countries who have been rendered homeless—and hopeless—in their countries by natural disasters, war, political persecution and other calamities. This applies only to people already in the United States when their country is designated as a TPS country. The massive destruction wrought in our affected provinces by super typhoon Yolanda drove the Philippine government to request the US government to grant TPS to its citizens now in the US.
Granting the TPS to Filipinos in the US, USP4GG says, will definitely increase remittances made to their families.
That would be a great boon to the Philippine economy, which these days is seeing a decline—albeit a slight one —in the amount of remittances from our countrymen abroad.
Remittances from abroad are one of the main factors that make our country among the top 10 in terms of foreign exchange reserves. That distinction is in turn among the economic indicators that have made international lending institutions and the credit-risk raters decide to give the Philippines the investment-grade status. That status makes the Philippines a more attractive destination for foreign direct investments (FDI), which we need to improve our unemployment situation, which would in turn reduce our massive poverty problem.
Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement
Ms. Nicolas-Lewis’ USP4GG also expressed its support for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which allows for greater rotational US military presence in the Philippines.
Ms. Lewis says: “Using the power of its military superiority, China is engaged in blatantly taking over Philippine territories and valuable resources that rightfully belong to the Filipino people. This is plain and simple immoral bullying tactics which civilized nations should not do. Realistically, the Philippines by itself cannot resist China’s aggression. We need help from the United States and the United Nations.”
One of the items the US can provide is drone technology. Because the Philippines cannot afford to buy conventional armaments to match those of China’s, we must have non-conventional weapons.
American and European forces in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are now using drone technology very successfully against terrorist targets. Pilotless, drones can carry attack rockets and bombs. They can also do effective monitoring operations and actual spying. They can be controlled from stations hundreds of miles away from targets.
With this technology, the Philippines can do a better job than it is doing now of watching over our shoals, reefs and islets and seeing Chinese maritime and naval forces when they take over our territory. Drones might deter China from continuing their operations to grab our seas and resources.
They cost much less than jets and ships.