J.T. Mallonga
J.T. Mallonga

[box type=”default” size=”large”] Politics could be the reason for the delay, Mallonga says [/box]The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) will continue to push its campaign for the grant by the US government of a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the Philippines despite fears that politics could be hindering the issuance of the much sought proclamation.

This was learned from JT Mallonga, new national NaFFAA chairman, when he was interviewed by the Filipino Star at the sideline of NaFFAA-Michigan’s 11th Annual Dinner held last Oct. 3 at the Somerset Inn in Troy.

If granted, the TPS would benefit thousands of Filipinos who are overstaying in the US. They would be temporarily spared deportation if they can prove that they or their immediate relatives are victims of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The TPS, which is being requested by the Philippine government for humanitarian considerations, is seen as a complementary measure for the efforts to speed up the rehabilitation of the devastated villages in Tacloban and other areas.

Mallonga said that Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario sent recently a letter to US State Secretary John and Homeland Security Secretary J. Johnson to reiterate the request for the issuance of the TPS.

He said that NaFFAA and other Filipino-American leaders also met last month with Secretary Johnson, Commissioner Alan Bersin of the US Customs and Border Protection and US CIS Director Leon Rodriguez to follow up the request for TPS. The meeting was arranged by the Philippine Embassy.

Mallonga feared that politics could be the reason for the delay in the issuance of the TPS, noting that the Republicans are against any measure that benefits illegal aliens. If it is ever granted, it could be issued after the coming elections of governors, US senators, state representatives and other officials, he said.

On FilVote, which is a movement initiated by NaFAA to register all Filipino-American voters in the US, Mallonga thanked NaFFAA-Michigan Chairperson Willie Dechavez for his register-and-vote drive which will be launched soon.

He said that if all eligible Filipino-Americans in the US register and vote, they would have a political clout which could translate to more government services to them.       

Mallonga, who lives in New York, was one of the three speakers who paid tribute to immediate past NaFFAA chairman Ed Navarra. He said he is continuing the various projects of Navarra who he described as an outstanding leader.

The two other speakers were Becky Tungol and Dr. Vilma Helms, who both cited the sterling qualities of Navarra as a leader.

After the tribute, Navarra was given a plaque of citation.