Via Media

Via Media


A blog entry from one of the hundreds of Filipinos who were denied visas by the German government

May it also serve as a way to remember the irony that many young Filipinos–a people close to the heart of the founder of World Youth Day, and people of the country that hosted the “biggest gathering of people of all times” with Pope John Paul II in 1995–were banned from experiencing the pilgrimage in Germany.

I am looking forward to the time when people of other countries will stop looking at the Philippines as a country of people who would grab every opportunity to be illegal immigrants (TNT) in the United States or in Europe. When that happens, there will probably be no more discriminations of against us, Filipinos, and we will probably be allowed to join in as many international gatherings as we wish, whether we are in a big group of 600 or not.

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posted August 17, 2005 at 2:58 pm

Actually, the precedent followed here would be one that Filipinos themselves set. Of the thousands of Filipinos who wer given Italian visas for WYD 2000 in Rome, close to half never returned to the Philippines, having scrambled to other European countries. This was a reason for Canadian wariness of Filipino applicants for WYD 2002.
The victim cry sounds hollow here. Even from another Filipino.
And in case this guy forgets, there are far, far fewer denials of Filipinos who are legal residents of foreign countries. They get to WYD events just fine.

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Jeff Miller

posted August 17, 2005 at 4:45 pm

I think it is a myth that hundreds of Filipinos were denied visas. The last I read:
“MANILA: A Philippine Catholic Church commission said yesterday only seven Filipino delegates to the World Youth Day in Germany were denied visas, contrary to reports that more than 300 encountered the problem.”
According to the Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the German Embassy in Manila originally denied visa applications of 50 delegates.
But upon appeals and representations made by the commission, the embassy reconsidered and granted visas to 43 delegates.
“We are happy about the small percentage of denied visas,” a senior staff of the commission said. “This problem is not new. In the past, we had some delegates who were not granted visas by other host countries.”
The commission noted that the seven applicants who were denied visas were found to be “belonging to the young professional” category and no longer falling under the youth class.
The Philippines is sending 322 delegates, including 63 priests and 10 nuns. In the past, a number of Filipino delegates to the international youth conference, which is held every four years in different countries, have overstayed and opted not to return home, making them illegal migrants.-DPA”

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posted August 18, 2005 at 2:12 am

Jeff, I think that the bishop conference’s report refers only to those who applied through the laborious youth affairs process under the banner of the conference itself. In other words, these are the delegates the bishops themselves have sponsored. The massive visa denials occur with the applications of members of religious groups and organizations not directly under the bishop’s conference. The group the blogger mentioned (AKAP) is one such group. Many applicants prefer going through these groups rather than through the bishops conference because the conference process is slow, and they select relatively few delegates. Some of these groups will send some 2000 delegates, compared to the 300 or 400 sent by the bishops. My relatives say that the process of going through the outside groups is more applicant-friendly than the bishop’s conference, and usually arrange better pre-WYD activities. (The Bishop’s Conference delegates stay in a hotel, while delegates from outside groups will arrange homestays with local families, activities with the host diocese, international pre-WYD mini-gatherings etc.)

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