Reflections on Vigil (Updated with photos)

All photos by Itos Feliciano ©2009

May 22, 2009

Here is a video that shows some of the photos taken at the three day vigil by photographer, Itos Felicaiano. It has some short video clips from the Oversight Hearing in Washington, DC.

Itos sent over 100 great photos of the three day vigil. I will post some here and make all of them into a slideshow to post later. Thanks Itos!


Anonymous said...


How come you don't encourage the guest workers to return to the Philippines and try to make a difference in their own country? I mean, this Vigil they put on almost looks like a religious ceremony.

Anonymous said...

Filipinos can make a difference in their lives anywhere! But, why are there local people going to the Philippines for medical check-up, buy goods, do business, have leisure, and other reasons? Can you at least make a difference in your lives too by building your hotels, run your business, and have a very good medical service out of your OWN SWEAT and your own talents? Would you have made a difference in your life if the US did not take your place as their territory and did not provide funds?

Anonymous said...

First Anonymous, you have a problem with religious ceremonies? The Filipinos did not invade the CNMI. They were invited here to work.

Anonymous said...

There is not just Filipino in the Vigil.
Seem like everybody is just picking on the Filipino.

Also in the late 90's there were many workers from Thailand here. How many know why there are not many now and the ones left here are mostly married, the rest have been here for many years.

Answer is; The Thai govt will not approve their people to work in the NMI "because the NMI Govt(DOL) will not protect it's foreign workers working within it's borders."

Anonymous said...

And there was a ban of Filipino workers in the 1990s after Doromal went to speak to the President and other Filipino officials.

cactus said...

Both the original push for federalization and the current push for green cards have been heavily Filipino-driven. There have been some Bangladeshis involved as well, but other than that what other nationalities are represented in positions of prominence, or in any significant numbers? It is interesting to speculate as to the reasons for that, but as a simple fact, it cannot escape notice.

And since you mention Thais, they have been conspicuously absent from these kinds of proceedings. Maybe a few have participated here and there, but they certainly have not been a driving force. Indeed, I have heard several Thais express the view that they have no wish to be US citizens, and many of those married to CNMI-resident US citizens have never sought citizenship, or even a green card, and are doing so now only reluctantly, because the federalization law has basically forced it upon them. Again, it is interesting to speculate as to the reasons for this.

In any event, I am not aware of any Thai government ban on working in the CNMI. Certainly, there were several hundred Thai garment workers here until only last year, when Onwel and UIC both closed. Onwel was the only Saipan factory with a Thai-majority workforce, and UIC had a substantial Thai minority. The recent decrease in the Thai population is, so far as I know, attributable to those closures.

Anonymous said...

in 2001, I tried to hire 5 additional Thai from Thailand as I had worked with Thai in Thailand years earlier when i lived there for many years, I had hired many that originally came in under Dynasty and left because they did not want to be renewed because of contract related problems with Dynasty..
At that time the Thai Govt. would not approve any new workers to work in the NMI. The ones that where already employed was fine but no new workers.(maybe has changed)
I guess in a way like the Bangladeshi if they are here they can stay but NMI will not allow any new to come.

I have had exceptional good luck with Okinawan, Thai, and Singapore workers.I have lived and worked in these areas and other places.They are my priority pick for workers.

You are correct most do not want any US status.Even the one's married to US.
Many years before my Tahi girlfriend wanted to visit America or other places but wanted to one day return to Thailand, did not want "green card" also.

My present Filipina wife is also that way. She does not want "green card",or citizenship.Does not want to live permanently in the US
Since she does need ton work, I will get her a different permanent status from the US Embassy in Manila next month to be able to travel and stay in US areas like NMI,Guam,Hawaii.
Our kids are dual citizen so no problem.

The Thai that I am aware of that are married to my friends all have obtained "non quota" resident visa or multiple entry visa so will not be affected by this "takeover". Some are past the initial visa so now they had gotten 10 year visa renewals.(do not know the full details on these type of visa)The other thing that will be interesting, if this visa allows any of them to work, after the take over. The ones that I know do not work except in the husband office or small store that have other workers so that may be tricky.

Anonymous said...

Should read "Since she does NOT need to work" NOT Since she does need to work"

cactus said...

You can check on this in Manila, but I don't think the US has any kind of permanent status other than the green card. Those 10-year multiple entry visas let you enter as often as you like, but I think each entry is only for a limited period of time (and they don't authorize you to work). If you are using it to actually live here, US Immigration might regard that as some kind of subterfuge. (My wife has got one, and, even just using it to enter Guam once a year or so, always gets hassled by US Immigration about why she hasn't got a green card.) At best, it would involve a lot of coming and going.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Those visas do not allow employment.

Under federalization, one's alien spouse will need a green card, but not citizenship.

Those proud of their native citizenship may never seek U.S. Many Thai are that way. Most Filipinos are the opposite, the result of a predominantly “status seeking” culture and also a legacy of Spanish and U.S. colonialism, which Thailand never endured. While Chinese may be proud of their homeland, a PRC passport can be such a liability that most spouses get U.S. cit. at the earliest opportunity.

My Philippine spouse did not get U.S. cit. for more than 14 years after our marriage, but finally gave in after I explained that my death would require a move to Guam with the kids after a year. With federalization, this will no longer be true.

Might as well get the spousal green card before the rush. But wait till you've been married 2 years so you can get the 10-year version.

I agree. More guest workers should save, and use their nest egg to return home and start their own small business. This is what my brother-in-law did. He left with several brand new bush cutters and chain saws.

Anonymous said...

As far as getting "hassled"for not having a "green Card" upon entering a US port. Seems to be a norm.
If I have to go to a US port of entry, like Guam or Hawaii for a project, besides at the point of entry, we get hassled at US Embassy in Manila every time I request a visa for my wife to accompany me for the so many months of the project that I request.
Seems nobody can understand why she does not want a US status, she just wants to stay in her homeland in the end.

She makes them mad when she tells the Embassy staff "US is a good place to visit but do not want to live there". (not good)

What I understand from US embassy in Manila, if I use our Phil. property address,and since I have an immigrant status in the Phil. I can get my wife a type of non quota immigrant visa. the cost is only a few hundred dollars.(she cannot work)
There is no minimum income requirement as we will change our primary residence to the Phil.
Do not know all of the details yet but have an appointment to accomplish this next month.(just in time for the rainy season)

The Saipan Blogger said...

I dated a Thai girl in college. I think the reluctance has to do with giving not only citizenship, but the loss of the right to own land in Thailand.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Hey Friend (poster at 9:58),

What can you tell us about a U.S. citizen married to an R.P. citizen getting R.P. immigrant status?

Is it true this must be renewed annually? If so, what is the annual renewal fee? How much was the initial application?

Is there a certain number of days a year or proportion of one's time that one has to stay there, or maximum consecutive absence that one can have without losing that R.P. immigration status?

Ultimately, one might want to get R.P. citizenship (you do not lose U.S. citizenship for doing so), but one requirement is the ability to speak, read, and write a Philippine language or dialect.

The R.P. would be a good place to retire on U.S. social security.

son of Mohandas Gandhi said...

Allright, I heard Saipan Chamber of Commerce position so I will do the following:-

1) Won't buy Juan Pan's bread.
2) Won't fill-up gas in Shell Susupe or Shell Puerto Rico.
3) Won't buy phone cards that Jim Anerovski's selling either.
4) Won't patronize any of Saipan Chamber of Commerce businesses, ever!

Boycott? Well, you don't have to read the lines...

Anonymous said...

almost 2 years ago they changed the immigration law in Phil. I do not know if this affects other nationalities, but I am American so,
There is no longer a medical exam,
There is no longer a "maritual status "from the US embassy (if already married)required.
The initial paperwork was about 3500Peso.(plus notary)

For PI wife side,
An NBI clearance,
NSO Certified Birth Certificate
Marriage certificate,
copy of her passport along with page (3) which has the stamp changing her name at marriage,
A letter from her requesting the immigration to grant a status.

Since we were married in NMI a copy of the IR card from NMI, Also any paperwork from Saipan has to be certified by the Philippine Counsulate in Saipan to be accepted by Immigration in the PI

Paperwork for foreign husband,
Copy of passport, and last entry stamp. (Passport must be good for at least 6 months from application.)
In my case it was about 8 months until expiration but got it renewed anyway because of the new Visa stamp.

There are forms available at Phil Immigration office for the immigration card. I think there are about 6 pages for spouse and a few for Filipina wife.
You need 3 pictures with blue background.
Just declare your income on the form and also it is best to present certified Birth certificates of the children with copies of their both passports, American and Phil.

The children s paperwork (or any documents will not be returned without a notarized letter from an attorney requesting it to be and it will be another couple of hours problems.
Any of the papers that where submitted at the time of registering kids birth in Saipan Phil Consulate should be duplicated and re stamped at the Consulate for submission.

After submitting all the paperwork at immigration in Manila, it will be computerized stamped with an interview date.within about 5 days so best to do it on a Monday or a Friday.
At the interview both of you will be questioned.
If it has been a short marriage the interview will be in different rooms and answers compared.

A decision will be made after about two months.I believe that you must stay in the country during this time. (don't remember)
Then a return to immigration (at you conveniance) and much runnig around to different offices in different buildings.
Another about 5000Peso,and if you want the thing in the same day much under the table money.
I remember about 10,000+peso.

Note; do not return on a Friday for your card as they hold mass in the afternoon, at the last office to get you picture taken and the card made up. everything will stop and backup for about 1 1/2 hours during the mass.

You will get a "probationary Immigration card for one year.
After 10 months (2 month before expire) almost the same process over again and the permenent one will not expire.
Every Jan,to March,(probationary and permanent) the card holder must report to any satellite Immigration office and file report.
Failure to do so will result in a 300Peso a month "fine"at the time of reporting.
It is best to hire or have a knowledgeable friend to accompany you for the card as it will save time if you are not familiar with the Building around Immigration and the "graft" system.
If you travel to the Phil accompanied by your wife anytime, you can ask the Airport Immigration for a "Balikbayon" visa stamp. It is good for one year. They keep giving year stamp every time upon reentery.

There are about only 7 banks authorized for direct deposit from SS. The best is "the Bank of The Philippine Islands" It is one of the oldest and has connections in New York and there is no fee or minimum balance.
A direct deposit (US Dollars) will not be with an ATM card and no "proxy" withdrawals. Only the name and pik on the bank book can with draw the money monthly and exchange it or transfer to a peso account.

I believe there was a site with much info, try search "living in the Philippines" I do not know if it is updated but I think that was the name.

cactus said...


Actually, your death would not have required your wife to move to Guam. A CNMI IR permit is renewable even after the death of the citizen spouse. There are foreign national widows still living on Saipan as IR's many years after the deaths of their local husbands. They are one of the groups that will be hardest hit by federalization, at least as it is currently formulated.

Anonymous said...

Great photos Itos!

Armchair Lawyer said...

Thank you, cactus. But I was talking about keeping her U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence, so she could still travel anywhere in the U.S. with our kids if they chose to do so, not merely a CNMI IR card. After two years with the latter, the green card was a better deal.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't like the way Jim Arenovski testified in the sub-committee hearing. But since he is entitled to his rights, I will practice my rights also, by not patronizing his SHELL GAS STATION AT GUALO RAI, SUSUPE AND SAN ROQUE NOR WILL I BUY PHONE CARDS FROM DELTA MANAGEMENT....