GUAM—Filipino-American leaders are calling on Filipino-American communities across the country to stage “picnic rallies” on July 4, which is commemorated by both the United States and the Philippines as “Filipino-American Friendship Day.”
On this day, Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in several U.S. cities, Saipan, and Guam will gather for their traditional July 4th picnics. But in addition to their festive activities, they will also use the occasion to call attention to a critical issue related to Typhoon Haiyan: Temporary Protected Status for some 200,000 Filipino nationals in the U.S. TPS will help Filipinos here as well as the hundreds of thousands of victims of supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Those here will be given employment authorizations and travel permits. With these, they will be able to significantly assist the Philippine typhoon victims—financially and otherwise.
“A grant of full TPS is an urgent and appropriate humanitarian response to the catastrophic consequences of the strongest storm in history,” said Loida Nicolas Lewis, national chair of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance. “TPS status would allow Filipino nationals currently in the United States to help their families back home rebuild their lives. Thus, there is a compelling need to provide them with legal protections. It has been seven months since the Aquino government asked the Obama administration for TPS. We are calling on President Obama to please direct Homeland Security to grant TPS now.”
In Guam, a TPS picnic rally will be held at the Tamuning Mayor’s office park pavilion located on Tun San Antonio corner North Marine Corps Drive, across the ITC building, from 3pm to 6pm on July 4. A huge banner requesting President Obama to grant TPS for the Philippines and posters stating that the Philippines is a long time friend and ally of the U.S. and thanking the American people and US in helping the Typhoon Haiyan victims will be displayed, said Dr. Celia Lamkin, chair of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance and National Federation of Filipino-American Associations Marianas chapter for Guam and CNMI and organizer of both Guam and Saipan TPS picnic rallies.
On Saipan, Filipinos and Filipino-Americans will have the TPS picnic rally on July 4 at the Kilili Pavilion on Beach Road, Susupe (across the Ada Gym), from 2pm to 6pm. A huge banner, posters like the ones in Guam will be displayed and fact sheets on TPS will be distributed for public awareness and education. In addition, free blood pressure measurement will be provided to the participants.
“We want President Obama know that once he approves TPS, there are also many Filipinos in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who will benefit from TPS and will eventually help the Philippines,” said Lamkin.
In Washington, D.C., community organizers plan to display a huge banner in front of the White House.
Filipino-American organizations in Austin, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco also plan to display TPS banners at July 4th parades in these cities. (USP4GG)