Filipinos make TPS push as Obama's PH visit nears

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Feb 27 2014 04:36 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2014 12:36 AM

LOS ANGELES - As Filipino leaders were en route to Washington D.C. for a community engagement with US officials regarding temporary protected status (TPS), Filipinos hit the streets all week making a push for the humanitarian aid that would give Pinoys with expired or expiring visa, temporary relief from deportations, while granting travel and work permits to the undocumented.

Throughout the US, members of the Relief 2 Recovery coalition collected petition signatures and unveiled large banners along buildings in support of TPS.

"It's important for the government to know we need to help the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan," said Emmy Vallarga of the Pilipino Workers Center.

While it has been more than a hundred days since Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines, advocates are optimistic that Thursday's meeting will get positive results.

"If they will not grant us, then why do they need to call for a public engagement? They can just be silent and just tell them that we are still studying the usual reply. But this time, they actively sought us. And said we will be holding a lot of meetings during this week," said Lolot Andrada Lledo also of the Pilipino Workers Center.

The issue of TPS comes as President Obama is scheduled to visit the Philippines in April.

"I think it would be good if they pass it before he comes so that there's not any tension or anything bad when he comes and also so we can thank him when he comes," added Vallarga.

The delegation of Filipinos meeting with the Department of Homeland Security and the US State Department includes coast-to-coast representation of Filipino service providers, worker and immigration advocates, the legal community, as well as the undocumented journalist-activist, Jose Antonio Vargas.