PHILIPPINE officials say more than 10,000 Filipinos are feared dead, and about 800,000 are displaced because of super typhoon Yolanda.
Despite all the local and international help being extended to the affected provinces in the Visayas, experts say it will probably take many years, even a decade to rebuild these areas, and the lives of Filipinos who are fortunate enough to have survived the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall in the world.
The Directors of the Migrant Heritage Commission (a Fil-Am community organization based in the Washington DC area) sent a letter to President Barack, proposing a way by which the US government can help in this recovery and rebuilding process, by granting Temporary Protected Status to undocumented Filipinos living in America.
This will “help the people in Philippines by permitting their relatives and friends to remain in the United States so that they continue to provide financial and material support to a nation in dire [need],” especially after the many deadly and destructive typhoons and earthquake that have wreaked havoc in the Philippines just in the previous years.
Please read on. If you believe in the rationale of this cause, then you may want to support this effort by writing the President, the Department of Homeland Security, and your Senators and Representatives. You can also share this and your support via social media.
Here is the text of the letter:
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Request for designation of Philippines as a TPS Country
Dear President Obama,
In the light of the recent massive destruction brought about by super typhoon “Haiyan“ (“Yolanda”) in the Philippines which claimed an estimated more than 10,000 lives in one province island of Leyte alone, the Migrant Heritage Commission, a national non-profit service oriented organization created to recognize , preserve and promote the cultural identity and rights of immigrants in the United States, is writing you to request Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Philippine nationals.
The successive grave natural disasters which include the Bohol earthquake have caused human sufferings and destruction of lives and properties in geometric proportions in the provinces of Leyte, Samar, Panay, Bohol, Negros, Palawan and Cebu. The death toll will continue to increase. Houses and buildings have been destroyed, utilities are down and basic services are not available. More than four million people are affected and scores of thousands are now displaced and living in the most miserable conditions unimaginable. The situation will not normalize for the next several months and even for years. The massive destruction that ravaged the Philippines is similar if not greater than the destruction that followed in the wake of natural calamities in Haiti, El Salvador and Guatemala which has been designated as TPS countries.
Under 8 U.S.C a (1)(B), the Department of Homeland Security may designate any foreign state (or any part of such foreign state) for Temporary Protected Status if there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster in the state resulting in a substantial, but temporary disruption of living conditions in the area affected….. or the Attorney General finds that there exists extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety, unless the Attorney General finds that permitting the aliens to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the national interest of the United States.” 8 U.S.C. &1254(b)(1)(B)&(C).
TPS designation is a program established to provide protection to people who are temporarily unable to return to their homelands. Please help the people in Philippines by permitting their relatives and friends to remain in the United States so that they continue to provide financial and material support to a nation in dire.
The TPS designation would permit Filipinos presently in the United States to remain here and qualify for the issuance of Employment Work Authorizations.
It is in the spirit of human dignity and humanitarian assistance, that we are requesting the United States to affirm the nation’s founding principles of caring and protecting persons in perilous and grave situations by designating the Philippines for Temporary Protected Status.
Granting TPS to the Philippines is not contrary to the national interest of the United States. Instead, it will strengthen the relationship with a country that has long been an ally of the United States in the Pacific even as the estimated four (4) million Filipino immigrants in the United States continue to contribute to the economic, political and in the cultural enrichment of our great nation.
MIGRANT HERITAGE COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS:
Arnedo S. Valera, Esquire
Jesse A. Gatchalian
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos