Officials Question U.S. Requests For Philippines To Host Afghan Immigrants

Officials Question U.S. Requests For Philippines To Host Afghan Immigrants

MANILA, Jun 17 (NNN-PNA) – A Philippine Senate committee, yesterday kicked off an investigation, into the U.S. request for the country to host Afghan nationals, applying for a special immigrant visa to head for America.

Senator Maria Imelda “Imee” Marcos, the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, launched the investigation, to shed light on the U.S. proposal. During the hearing, Marcos questioned the reason why the U.S. wanted to involve the Philippines in processing the entry of Afghan nationals, who previously worked with the American agencies in Afghanistan.

“If the United States is unable or unwilling to accommodate the SIV applicants temporarily, why don’t they consider U.S. territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo?” she asked.

The senator expressed her concern that these Afghans, who previously worked with the U.S. government, might be targets of reprisal from anti-U.S. terrorist groups.

Senator Jose Pimentel “Jinggoy” Ejercito, also raised his concern over the request to host Afghan immigrants.

“Given our housing backlog and the rise in the cost of living, shouldn’t our limited resources be focused on taking care of our own?” he said.

“We want to register now our vehement objection and opposition to the proposal in its entirety, mainly on legal grounds and security issues,” said Michael Wesley Poa, spokesperson of the Department of Education, led by Philippine Vice President, Sara Duterte.

Philippine Foreign Secretary, Enrique Manalo, said, the issue is still under discussion, adding, the government has yet to allow Afghan nationals into the country.

“It’s just an idea of the United States, and we in the Philippines have gone over it and given our idea to each other,” Manalo said.

According to him, U.S. President, Joe Biden, raised the request for the Philippines to house Afghan refugees, when his counterpart, Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos made a visit to Washington in May.

Defence Secretary, Gilbert Teodoro, told the committee that, he will defer to the legal opinion of the Department of Justice, while noting the risks involved in hosting the Afghans awaiting resettlement in the United States.

– NNN-PNA

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