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BY HERBERT ATIENZA
A bipartisan bill that would speed up the processing of visas for children of Filipino World War II veterans has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.
Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) recently introduced the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act in the U.S. Senate. A companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Ed Case (D-Hawaii) and Don Young (R-Alaska).
More than 260,000 Filipino soldiers fought under the American flag in World War II. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush granted U.S citizenship to about 26,000 Filipino nationals in recognition of their service to the United States during World War II.
But the 1990 law did not confer immediate citizenship or residency to the veterans’ children, who must go through the regular visa application process if they want to join their parents. Due to a visa backlog, Filipino applicants must wait over 20 years before their applications are considered.
Many Filipino World War II veterans have since died since the 1990 law, and fewer than 6,000 veterans residing in the United States would be able avail of the benefits of the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act today.
“During World War II, Filipino soldiers stepped up and answered the call to service, fighting and sacrificing alongside American service members,” Senator Hirono said. “However, because these family members have been stuck in a decades-long visa backlog, they have not been able to reunite with their relatives in the United States. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act would fulfill our nation’s promise to honor Filipino World War II veterans’ service to our country and reunite these families.”
“During World War II, the Philippines were under United States control. Thousands of brave Filipinos put their lives on the line and fought side-by-side with American soldiers under our flag. They did so with the understanding that they would be treated equal to American veterans, but unfortunately their fight for fair compensation and recognition continues today,” Senator Murkowski said.
“Most of the Filipino veterans that served America during WWII are now in their 80s and 90s. Many have been separated from their children for far too long. This is more than just a humanitarian gesture—this is about honoring veterans and their families for their sacrifices during the war and throughout the decades that followed.”
“I also welcome the companion version of this bill introduced today in the U.S. Senate by Senator Hirono of Hawaii and Senator Murkowski of Alaska,” Rep. Case said. “In 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services created the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, a temporary administrative fix that allows these veterans to request parole for their children or siblings. Under this policy, they can live in the U.S. pending processing of their permanent resident applications, which may still take years if not decades.
However, as these veterans near the end of their lives, they deserve the certainty of a non-revocable permanent solution. This bill would grant them that. In this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and in further recognition of the selfless service and contributions of Filipino veterans of World War II to our country, I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting and passing this bill.”
“The time to reunite our brave Filipino American World War II veterans with their families is running out,” Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, said. “We commend Senator Hirono for her unwavering commitment to these veterans, as she reintroduces the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act in Congress. We remain prepared to support any efforts to ensure that this time-sensitive legislation comes to fruition.”
More than 260,000 Filipino soldiers followed America’s call to fight under the American flag in World War II. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush granted U.S. citizenship to about 26,000 Filipino nationals in recognition of their service to the United States during World War II. However, the 1990 law did not confer citizenship or residency to the veterans’ children, who remained separated from their parents. Due to a visa backlog, Filipino applicants must wait more than two decades before their applications are considered.
In 2016, after years of advocacy by Senator Hirono, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began implementation of the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) program to reunite veterans and their surviving spouses with adult children and certain other relatives. However, the program is limited and provides no guarantee that these veterans will reunite with their loved ones.
In 2017, Senator Hirono urged the Trump Administration to continue the FWVP program. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act provides a permanent solution, amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to exempt from global limits the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans who were naturalized under the 1990 law or other specified laws.
Today, there are fewer than 6,000 Filipino World War II veterans residing in the United States who would be able to take advantage of the benefits bestowed by the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act. Senator Hirono introduced the bipartisan bill in the 113th, 114th, and 115thCongresses and offered it as an amendment to the Senate’s 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, which passed the Senate.
In addition to Hirono, and Murkowski, the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). (August 2019)
Photo courtesy of American Coalition for Filipino Veterans Inc.
BY HERBERT ATIENZA
Plans are underway for the 84th Anniversary Gala of the Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS).
The event is set for 6 p.m.on Nov. 9 at the Renton Pavilion Events Center, 233 Burnett Avenue South, Renton, 98057.
Ticketing information will come soon.
The gala is an annual event to celebrate FCS history, activities, and accomplishments. The event also raises funds to support the operations of the organization.
Last year, FCS staged a sold-out gala, dubbed “Para sa Pamayanan,” or “For the Community,” which was attended by more than 300 people and raised about $46,000 for FCS operations.
The event highlighted the rich history of FCS and the Filipino community in Washington and the Pacific Northwest, and celebrated the exciting and vibrant future, including the much-anticipated construction of the Filipino Community Village, a 95-unit affordable housing complex for seniors.
The event also honored three people with awards for embodying the spirit of FCS: Cindy Cawaling, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for community leadership; Bob Flor, who also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting culture and the arts; and Lourdes Quiray Medina, who received the Frank Palisoc Award for volunteerism. (August 2019)
Image courtesy of FCS
BY HERBERT ATIENZA
Tons of rotting trash that originated from Canada have been welcomed back from the Philippines to Vancouver, B.C.
The trash was moved by truck from the Vancouver port by truck to Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy facility in Burnaby, where it will be processed and dispersed over time, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The arrival of the Danish cargo ship, Anna Maersk, to Vancouver to deliver 69 containers of Canadian trash marks the end of a major irritant between Philippine and Canadian relations, which at one point had Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatening to go to “war” with Canada unless it removed the long abandoned garbage from the Philippines.
The Canadian government finally agreed to take back the trash, but not until Duterte recalled his ambassador to Ottawa.
“Canada values its deep and longstanding relationship with the Philippines and has been working closely with Filipino authorities to find a solution that is mutually acceptable,” Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said in a statement.
“Canada is pleased to announce that it has awarded a contract to bring the waste back promptly and to ensure its safe and environmentally sound disposal. Canada has amended its regulations to prevent this from happening again and is looking at ways to hold the responsible parties to account,” she added.
In 2013 and 2014, a Canadian company, Chronic Inc., exported containers wrongly labelled as recyclable plastics to two importers in the Philippines. The shipment actually contained a mixture of waste, including soiled diapers and household waste.
The import of mixed plastics and household waste, although allowed at that time by Canada, is prohibited under Philippines regulations. Canada since amended its regulations which would have prohibited the shipments in 2013 and 2014 today.
In 2016, courts in the Philippines ordered the importers to ship the containers back to Canada at their expense, but the importers did not comply with the court order. Still the trash languished in the Philippines, with an irate Duterte setting a May 15 deadline, which Canada missed and later resulted in Duterte recalling his envoy.
Finally, on May 22, the Canadian government awarded a contract to Bollore Logistics Canada to bring the waste back to Canada, and agreed to shoulder the cost of shipping the garbage back to the country. (August 2019)
Photo courtsey of Greenpeace Philippines
BY HERBERT ATIENZA
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill permanently
designating the month of October as Filipino American History Month.
SB 5865, which will take effect on July 28, was signed into law by Inslee on May 7 to
“commemorate the contributions of Filipino Americans to the history and heritage of
Washington state and the United States.”
“Yesterday I signed SB 5865, declaring October of each year to be Filipino American History
Month in our state. This carries a tradition that (the Washington state legislature) has been
practicing for years into the future. This will help us honor the many contributions Filipinos
make to the fabric of Washington,” Inslee wrote in a tweet announcing the enactment of the
The bill designating October as Filipino American History Month culminates years of e/ort, led
by eastern Washington resident Ray Pascua, to obtain recognition for the presence and
contributions of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in Washington state, said Maria Batayola, a
member of the Seattle-based Filipino American National Historical Society.
“It is absolutely fantastic, it’s a long me coming,” she said. She said Filipino Americans have a
rich, if often unrecognized and neglected, history in the state and country.
SB5865 acknowledges these shortcomings.
“The legislature finds that the writings and teachings of American history have often overlooked
the role of people of color, among them the history of Filipino Americans, whose heritage spans
a colonial, political, economic, and cultural relationship with the United States,” the bill’s text
It stated that the earliest documented proof of Filipino presence in the continental United
States was on October 18, 1587, when the first "Luzones Indios" set foot in Morro Bay,
The Filipino American national historical society recognizes the year of 1763 as the date of the
first permanent Filipino settlement in the United States in St. Malo Parish, Louisiana.
Subsequent waves of migration followed, and today Filipino Americans continue to make a
lasting impact on the history and heritage of Washington state and the United States, it said.
The bill was sponsored by Senators Hasegawa, Nguyen, Conway, Dhingra, Schoesler, Billig,
Honeyford, King, Randall, Saldaña, and Wilson, C. (July 2019)
Photo courtesy of Twitter/@govinslee
After years of planning, fundraising, and development, the Filipino Community Village will finally break ground on Thursday, Aug. 22.
Plans are underway for the groundbreaking ceremony and celebrations, set for 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Filipino Community of Seattle, 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle, WA 98118.
The FCV is a unique project that will build 95 affordable-housing units for low-income seniors.
A major component of the project is an Innovative Learning Center, a state-of-the-art computer laboratory that will offer technological access and nurture the interest of young people in the fields of science-technology-engineering-arts-math (STEAM). (July 2019)
· 95 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors.
· 4,900 square-feet Youth Innovation Learning center, a dedicated space for youth to learn about technology, science and arts through a developed STEAM program.
· Bataan Corregidor Veterans Museum as a permanent exhibit.
· Updated office space.
· Computer room for residents.
· 34 parking spaces
· Common areas for residents and their guests.
· Balcony-level resident-run p-patch.
· Multi-purpose community space for health screenings, community meetings and childcare.
· Cultural heritage activities and classes for youth and families to learn and rediscover their language, music, arts and customs.
BY FIL-AM CHRONICLE STAFF
Petitioning family to migrate to the US will be harder with the permanent closure of the the USCIS field office in Manila on July 5.
The office began redirecting Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the USCIS Lockbox on May 14, 2019.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by USCIS to individuals residing in the Philippines (see table below).
Beginning on June 3, 2019, individuals who were previously assisted by the USCIS Manila Field Office (which includes individuals residing in the Philippines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Wallis, Futuna, New Caledonia, Pitcairn Island, Overseas French territories of French Polynesia, and most island nations in the Pacific region that are not covered by the other field offices in the Asia/Pacific District) must follow these filing instructions:
File your petition by mail with the USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago.
USCIS may authorize the Department of State to accept a petition filed with a U.S. Embassy or consulate in some limited circumstances.
Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant(for Widow(er) petitions only)
If you are a widow(er) of a U.S. citizen, please see the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant page for the most current filing instructions.
You may file your Form I-360 at the U.S. Embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over the area where you live.
If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has lost your LPR card and/or re-entry permit and you need travel documentation to return to the U.S., you can file your Form I-131A with any U.S. embassy consular section or USCIS international field office.
In rare circumstances, a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate may allow you to submit a Form I-407 in person if you need immediate proof that you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status.
You must file your petition with the Nebraska or Texas Service Center, depending on where the petitioner lives in the United States.
For beneficiary interviews/processing, contact the U.S. embassy consular section in the country where the beneficiary resides.
If you are a member of the U.S. military stationed overseas, please see the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, page or call 800-375-5283 for the most current filing instructions. USCIS will forward the application to the appropriate international field office for processing. For qualified children of active-duty service members stationed abroad, the proper form to file is the N-600K,
You must file your petition with the USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago. If your petition is accepted, it will be forwarded to a USCIS service center for adjudication. If the service center conditionally approves your application, it will forward it to the Department of State’s (DOS) National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will transfer your case to the USCIS office or U.S. embassy or consulate abroad where your beneficiary relative will be interviewed.
Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits. (July 2019)
Edmonds, Wash. - For a second year, Barrio Fiesta will be celebrated in this city on Aug. 24.
A celebration of Filipino culture, heritage, and traditions will highlight the second annual Barrio Fiesta, to be held 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on the grounds of the Filipino American Christian Church, 8713 220th St. SW, Edmonds.
“This is an event for the whole family to enjoy, with live entertainment, a variety of food trucks, and special events and games for the kids,” said Pastor Randy Caldwell, of Filipino American Christian Church, which is sponsoring the event. “We are truly excited to be a family of believers in Jesus called to love and serve the Filipino community in the Greater Seattle.”
The Barrio Fiesta is a free event for everyone in communities across Seattle. Over 15 vendors, a variety of food trucks serving delicious foods, and special guest performers will be on hand to honor and celebrate Filipino culture.
Attendees are encouraged to immerse themselves in unique and experiential performances, indulge in exquisite Filipino cuisine, and learn more about local cultural businesses and artists around the area.
Last year, the inaugural Barrio Fiesta Edmonds united over 800 guests across multiple cities. The event also succeeded in highlighting local Filipino businesses, artists, organizations and talents. (July 2019)
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