Filipinos in the United States have expressed dismay over President Rodrigo Duterte's seeming lack of concern for their undocumented kababayans in light of US President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policy, according to a report by GMA News' JP Soriano on News To Go on Tuesday.
Lolita Lledo, associate director of Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), said Duterte should keep in mind the contributions made by overseas Filipinos to the country's economy through their remittances, which amounts to billions in pesos.
"We love our families so much. Akala ba ninyo masarap tumira dito nang wala kang papel? Hindi. Pero napupuwersa kami kasi wala namang trabaho sa Pilipinas. Anong gagawin namin? Tutunganga lang dun hanggang mamatay ang angkan namin?" Lledo, a former undocumented immigrant, said.
Duterte had earlier said he would not "lift a finger" to help undocumented Filipinos who will be affected by Trump's tough immigration policy.
In the News To Go interview, Lledo, a caregiver for 30 years, said Duterte seemed to have turned his back on undocumented Filipinos despite their support for him during the 2016 elections.
"Presidente Duterte, marami sa mga miyembro, sa mga undocumented dito sa America [ay] sa 'yo. Bakit 'di mo tutulungan? Hindi pakikialam ang pagtulong sa mga mamamayan mo," she said.
Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) executive director Dorothy Gamoning and other Filipino groups also expressed dismay over Duterte's statement.
"I don't feel good about that at all. It's not even just Filipinos. He's (Trump) isolating all sorts of ethnic groups. And so, even as a Filipino, community, we have to make sure that everybody's rights are protected," Gamoning said.
The Archdiocese of California, meanwhile, has formed an immigration action center and website to help "TNTs, or "Tago nang Tago," the colloquial term for Filipino illegals in the US. It has vowed to provide shelter to undocumented Filipinos.
"Well, I tried to get them to somebody who can help. That was before this immigration committee settled. But now I would send them to the immigration committee," Reverend Father John Brannigan of the St. Columbian Filipino Parish said.
"You help your countryman no matter where they are," he added.
The Department on Foreign Affairs has already assured assistance to Filipinos who may be affected by Trump's policy. For the meantime, it encouraged US-based Filipinos to follow all rules and regulations. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News