10/12/2013: STATEMENT OF H.E. AMBASSADOR JOSE L. CUISIA, JR. ON IMMIGRATION RELIEF MEASURES FOR TYPHOON VICTIMS
10 December 2013
Last month, Supertyphoon Haiyan wrought unprecedented havoc when it rampaged across the Central Philippines, leaving almost 6,000 people dead and more than 27,000 injured. Haiyan also displaced more than 4 million people, affected 12 million others and left hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Experts say it will take several years before the affected areas could fully recover.
The Philippine Embassy greatly appreciates the assistance extended by the United States Government and the American people, including the recent gesture that seeks to provide immigration relief for Filipinos currently in the US who may have been impacted by Haiyan.
The Embassy welcomes the announcement made by the US Customs and Immigration Services on 15 November 2013 that certain immigration relief measures can be extended to Filipinos affected by the typhoon on humanitarian grounds.
The Embassy is also aware of the strong interest of the Filipino Community, supported by members of the US Congress and leaders of the Catholic Church, for the US Government to place the Philippines under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and enable eligible Filipino nationals to support relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines by allowing them to legally stay and work in the US for a certain period.
During the past several weeks, the Embassy has been consulting with US Government authorities on the TPS program and the designation process while coordinating typhoon relief efforts for the Philippines at the same time.
The Embassy has also been actively involved in consultations on this matter with leaders of the Filipino Community and other stakeholders, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and other concerned agencies in Manila.
The consultation process is still ongoing. When the decision on what action to take is finally made, it would be based on what the Philippine Government believes would be best for our country and our people.
JOSE L. CUISIA, JR.
Washington, D.C., 10 December 2013