Iwas pusoy ang ‘Kano?

WHEN the Philippines took in the Jews during the time of President Quezon, it was to save them from the Nazis and give them visas for temporary shelter that other countries refused to give.

When we took in white Russians during the time of President Quirino and allowed them to settle in Tubabao island, Samar, they were first fleeing from the communist Bolsheviks and then from the communists in China who were gaining power there.

When we took in the Vietnamese boat people during the time of President Marcos Sr and placed them in a guarded refugee center in Bataan and then resettled them in Palawan, it was to save their lives from their treacherous escapes by sea.

Now the US wants us to take in thousands of Afghans who worked for them and obviously are avoiding the Talibans now in power that the Americans themselves were responsible for. As clarified during the Senate hearing presided by Senator Imee Marcos, they are not refugees but practically visa applicants who are still in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I was informed by a source that Clark was being mentioned as a possible temporary holding area while these visa applicants or maybe political asylum seekers are being processed in batches of 1,000 to 2,000.

Why not establish holding areas in the US  when the American government claims the subject Afghans are sufficiently vetted and that it will shoulder all expenses? The fact that the US wants a third country host for a holding area shows the Americans themselves are not that sure about these entry applicants.

And why in big batches?

I imagine the identities of the so-called vetted applicants are still being kept secret and will be extracted and transported en masse upon short notice to a third country for security reasons. This is where security lapses can occur because of the sheer size of the proposed batches. This will be a source of worry for the third country hosting the holding area.

Senator Francis Tolentino found nothing wrong in accepting the proposal of the US government and cited the country’s humanitarian history of opening the country to refugees.

The problem is that, as emphasized by Senator Marcos, the subject Afghans are not refugees who I believe are not facing imminent danger where they are now but more like seekers of better place to live in.

However, if they are really facing danger to their lives arising from their association with the Americans who intervened in Afghanistan once identified by international anti-American terrorist groups, the more the Philippine government should be circumspect in dealing with the matter.

Most of the Vietnamese refugees who were sheltered in the Philippines have gone back to Vietnam but not until after introducing a well-liked piece of their culture that started in Palawan where they were resettled after staying at the refugee center in Morong, Bataan and finally reached Metro Manila and other parts of the country – Vietnamese cuisine.

I have nothing against the Afghan people. They have a great history of resisting dominance by foreign invaders. The infusion of some Afghan culture into ours should not be a bad thing.

President Biden is now facing impeachment in Congress over his immigration decisions and the US government wants to involve us in its Afghan immigration problem.

I just hate the practice of American imperialists of avoiding the consequences of their interventionist deeds.