MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles ) – The government of the Philippines, following in the footseteps of American Samoa, is now requiring U.S. citizens visiting the country to obtain an entry visa.
Previously, Americans were allowed to visit the Philippines for tourism or business for 30 days without the need for an entry visa. But the Philippine government is fed up with the inequality and lack of reciprocity between the U.S. and the Philippines in as far as travel is concerned.
The Philippines, despite being a former American colony, is not included in the list of participating countries under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Filipinos wanting to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure need to obtain a visa which is very hard to come by.
VWP is a program of the United States Government which allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. The program applies to the 50 U.S. states as well as the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, with limited application to other U.S. territories.
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth,” President NoyNoy Aquino said as he signed an executive order revising the Philippines’ immigration policy as it relates to U.S. citizens.
The visa requirement for U.S. citizens visiting the country will be revoked as soon as the U.S. adds the Philippines to the list of countries under the VWP, Aquino said.
The visa requirement does not apply to U.S. military personnel assigned to the Philippines in connection with the Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) which gives the U.S. access to Philippine military bases and deploys military personnel to train Filipino soliders to be better equipped and prepared for combat against insurgents and aggressors.