ERAP AIRS APPEAL FOR AMERASIANS   

Quezon City, March 7, 2003 -- Former President Joseph Estrada yesterday called on the United States government to give immediate attention to Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasians Act, which is currently pending in the US Congress for amendments.

In an informal interview following an unexpected visit by mothers of Amerasian children at his Veterans Hospital detention center in Quezon City, Estrada lamented that since 1999, the second year of his presidency, there seems to have been no attention given to the law which provides assistance to Amerasian children who face an uncertain future.

"The Second World War and the Korean War have long been over. Again, we see a looming war amidst a world threatened by terrorism which has again brought US troops to the Philippines. Yet, what has been done to help the plight of Amerasians in the Philippines?"

The act was signed in 1982, but only Cambodia, Korea, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam have benefited from the law to date.

Prior to the proposed amendment, only children born after Dec. 31, 1950, and before Oct. 22, 1992, and only those fathered by a US citizen could qualify for benefits.

An amendment to the law submitted in 1999 sought to include overseas children from the Philippines and Japan whose fathers are US citizens. Children in the Philippines are eligible if they were born after Dec. 31, 1950 and before Nov. 24, 1992, while those in Japan are eligible if they were born after Dec. 31, 1950, and before the date of enactment of the clause.

It is estimated that more than 50,000 children from the Philippines and approximately 6,000 from Japan will be eligible to migrate to the US once the proposed sub-clause is approved by the US Congress.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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