opinion

Security and the K 1 Visa by Susan Palmes-Dennis

December 13, 2015

Charlotte, North Carolina- House Republican leaders announced a new legislative proposal aimed at boosting national security by changing the nation's visa waiver program. They said the bill would get a vote by next week. A counterterrorism task force headed by the Republican committee chairman announced the bill on Thursday, and predicted it would pass with an overwhelming and bipartisan vote. The bill came on the heels of the carnage at St. Bernardino, California a week ago resulting to the death of 14 people and wounding 21 others. It is the first suspected terrorist attack in US soil after the infamous 9-11 and it kept me thinking about it for days as it involved the fiancée visa or K 1 Visa. I was reminded of my coming here in the US under the fiancée visa and because of what happened I recalled the process in my brain. I came to the US five years and six months ago under the fiancée visa. A fiancée visa is a visa issued to the prospective wife/husband of an American citizen. It is valid for 90 days after which the petitioned would return to the country of origin if marriage is not consummated. It is said to be the easiest visa obtained. The news media had a grand time talking about the fiancée visa that I was reminded of what happened to me inside the US Embassy and my observation of the system. The US K1 visa is not broken. There is no need to fix it despite what happened in San Bernardino but there is a part on the process overlooked by the US government. Tashfeen Malik, now the most popular Muslim woman of modern times came to the US on a fiancée visa which I supposed was issued in Pakistan, her country of birth. Tashfeen was one of the suspects in the San Bernardino carnage and is believed to have influenced Syed Rizwan Farook, the husband who was born and raised in the US. Many are of the opinion that Tashfeen radicalized Syed into committing the evil deed they did a week ago. But why did the US embassy failed to learn that Tashfeen had been to countries suspected of being inhabited by terrorists or those engaged in the radicalization of Islam? My take is that in every US embassy there are local employees and it was the local employees who interviewed, processed the papers and eventually recommending that it reach the US consul. In my case during my interview, the first two sets of interview were done by Filipinos who were employed by the US embassy. These local employees look at the papers like birth certificate, affidavits, other papers, passports. Those Filipinos who worked with the US embassy worked religiously scrutinizing any mistakes in spelling, dates and they would be happy to see any discrepancies on documents presented. And it is when everything is okay with the papers that the applicant is told to proceed to the US consul. Reaching the consul is no longer a problem. The ambiance is more relaxed just like on my case. I can remember how strict the Filipino embassy employee was when she interviewed me. She was so arrogant and asked vicious questions. That time I told myself, what kind of employees are these? Well now, I can think Filipinos employed at the embassy were doing their job by protecting US interests. Was it the same with the local employes at the US embassy in Pakistan who approved Tashfeen’s papers? Why these local employees failed to detect the places traveled by the petitioned when it can be seen in the passport or during the interviews? This I ask on the assumption that there are local employees in the embassy. In Tashfeen’s case, did the local employees of the embassy commit lapses and failed to see her connection to ISIS or Al Qaeda? These are among the questions to be asked. I see that in the next few days those who coming to the US through the K 1 Visa would have a hard time entering the country and the American citizens would be frustrated with the system. Personally I see no reason that time and resources would be spent discussing and finding loopholes in the K 1 visa. It is just simple- ISIS and Al Qaeda have partners and in this case partners within the system.

READ MORE
Thanksgiving and the Filipino culture by Susan Palmes-Dennis

December 6, 2015

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina--A week ago we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US. Thanksgiving is a harvest festival and an important public holiday that is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. I likened Thanksgiving to the fiestas in the Philippines which revolve around the patron saint of a city or a barangay (village) where there is a lot of merriment. On Thanksgiving schools are closed for about three or four days. It is that time of the year where a lot of food are cooked and prepared, when turkeys have no place to hide since all American homes will serve turkey as part of the celebration. The event calls on everyone celebrating the occasion to gather round the table and partake of the food and blessings received for the year. Family togetherness is deemed absent in most US households because of work demands. But those who still uphold the celebration will ensure that there is enough bonding time with family members and friends. This year my husband Ronnie and I were invited to the home of Ranulfa Deloso and her husband Tony Cammarano. Ranulfa or Ranni is from barangay Macabalan,Cagayan de Oro City while Tony is of Italian heritage. Ronnie and I were invited because Ranni’s sister Malou and her family were in town visiting having just come from California. Malou is married to David Lowry, who’s originally from North Dakota and they brought their two boys with them for the occasion. Malou is a graduate of Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro who chatted with David in school as part of their subject in college. David told us that he continued conversing with Malou even after school because he was so smitten with her and their conversation went to religion and family. He caught my attention and in fact David was not eating as he continued talking about what he learned about Malou’s family and how Malou told him about her 11 siblings. Touched by stories that it was Ranni who worked in Singapore to send Malou and her siblings to college, David showed to me that he knows the history and the people of the Philippines. I understood that David came from a small size family and that he was orphaned at an early age. Ranni and Malou’s story reinforces the reality of how Filipinos value their clan. There is no doubt that Filipinos are family-oriented. As in the case of Ranni, Malou and her siblings, Filipinos are willing to make sacrifices and work abroad so their loved ones back home can have a taste of the good life. Parents who became overseas workers so their children can study in better schools have become the norm and they have helped prop the Philippine economy amid the highs and lows of the global economic situation. It is their willingness to sacrifice and give to their loved ones that have touched Americans like David Lowrey, who wants his own children to imbibe those same Filipino values. The Thanksgiving night was long and I did not mind staying late to listen to David who is so enamored with the ways of the descendants of Dagohoy. Again, happy Thanksgiving to all and for all your comments/emails, send them to my email address at susanap.dennis@yahoo.com. Also see my other online accounts below. (Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines is now employed teacher assistant in one of the school systems in the Carolinas. Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com and at

READ MORE
On Tagoloan election politics

November 27, 2015

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina—Physically I may be far away but thanks to technology I am able to keep abreast of political developments in my hometown of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in northern Mindanao, Philippines. I write this because my last piece on unity talks in Tagoloan politics drew some fire from critics who claim that I don’t know anything about the town since I’m here in the US. Yet I believe in my informant who feeds me news about Tagoloan and I am updated with developments there. I stand by what I wrote about residents there who would like to have lawyer Sergio “Yoyoc” Yap and barangay chairman Enan Sabio meet and decide who among them will run for mayor before the December 10 deadline for the substitution of candidates. That means either one of them must yield and support the other just to defeat the Emano’s. But I guess it may just be a dream that won’t see fulfillment in our lifetime. In the words of Leonardo “Dongdong” Eduave of the Lumad Tagoloanon page over at Facebook, “Unity between Enan and Yoyoc will never come unless one of them will withdraw his candidacy in the 2016 elections.” Both men have lived in Tagoloan town since birth. They have seen and felt the need for a change in leadership in the town. They both realize that if they don't act now, someone who is like a stranger to Tagoloan will rule over the town for the next three years.” To “set the records straight” so to speak, this corner learned that last October 3, Mayor Julio Uy of Villanueva town who’s running for governor of Misamis Oriental met with Yap in the city. Uy asked Yoyoc to be his running-mate in the province. Yap declined the offer stating that he wants really to run for mayor of Tagoloan town instead of vice-governor. Yap took the opportunity to say his piece about the “unity talks” by suggesting that he would run as mayor with incumbent vice-mayor Robinson Sabio as vice and a mix of councilors coming from both parties “VM Robinson would be my vice, and councilors would be mixed like Issur, Lamberto Neri, Tata Paduganan, Angel Pomar, Oscar Baal, Eric Emano, Achas, Uriel Paguidopon,” Yap said. Reliable information I got stated that Enan would not agree with Yap’s proposal. The talks ended there. Enan Sabio also has his eyes on the mayoral seat. I learned too that the Emano group was also thinking about a substitution to hold on to their turf. On Oct. 6, there was a proposal on the part of Enan Emano that Yoyoc Yap be his vice-mayor or congressional bet of Misamis Oriental’s 2nd district for the Padayon Pilipino camp. The same source told me that Yap declined the offer. Yoyoc offered instead that he be the mayoralty bet and Enan Emano or Richard Emano be his vice mayor. Just like the Sabio talks with Mayor Julio Uy, it ended. There you have it. I think all those who prayed that the unity talks succeed will be disappointed because both men want to run for mayor. Before I end this piece, I apologized for my two points raised in my previous piece. The first point being that Yoyoc Yap’s father, Sergio Yap, has nothing to do with his decision to run for mayor. I believe that Yoyoc is man enough to decide for himself. Second is that Enan Sabio is not running under the Liberal Party nor the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). Sabio is with NUP (National Unity Party) under Mayor Julio Uy and his wife Rep. Juliette Uy. NUP members are mostly former members of Lakas CMD of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. For now there are four mayoral candidates in Tagoloan town. The need to have Yoyoc and Enan run as a tandem may long be gone when the voters themselves decide who among them is best suited to run the town. If Tagoloanons squander the opportunity to look for better leadership of Tagoloan, their dream of progress may be lost for this lifetime. May my fellow Tagoloanons start to study the platforms of these four mayoral candidates. And when I say study, I mean they should evaluate what these candidates can offer on the table other than their usual motherhood statements and grandiose promises. Rather than vote for candidates who know nothing about the town and its needs, Tagoloanons should not just vote but participate in governance. Tagoloanons are the best people on earth. We can lead and we have produced many who have contributed not only locally but globally.

READ MORE
Unity talks for Tagoloan bets

November 20, 2015

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina—Until now the residents of Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental, in northern Mindanao, Philippines are hoping that the camps of Enan Sabio and Yoyoc Yap will unite for next year's elections. Both are gunning for the town's mayoral seat and supporters of both candidates hope that they agree to choose between themselves who will run for the post before the substitution deadline allowed under the Election Code on Dec. 10. Quite a number of fellow Tagoloanons have wished for this according to my reporter/source that I would rather not name. Enan Sabio is running for mayor of Tagoloan under the Liberal Party while Yoyoc Yap is running under the PDP-Laban/Nationalist People's Coalition. Enan Sabio or Gomer Ferdinand Sabio is the incumbent barangay chairman of Natumolan and the son of the late Aristotelis” Teling” Sabio who made a fortune in sawmill and other business interests. He has done a lot for the people of Natumulan, even using his personal money to help those in need. Sabio caught the ire of the incumbent mayor who happened to be a classmate and good friend of his father when he signified interest to run for mayor a year ago. Since last year the relationships have soured that even the garbage or trash of the Natumolan residents have not been attended to by the municipal government. The garbage from Natumulan has to make the long trip to Villanueva town, Misamis Oriental. Sabio isn't collecting his salary as barangay chairman or village chief, yet he feels that he is ready to run for mayor. While Yoyoc Yap is a lawyer by profession who lost to incumbent Mayor Paulino Emano in the 2013 elections. The loss didn't deter Yoyoc from helping fellow Tagoloanon residents despite their political affiliations. I can see his posts of his community works at his Facebook page every now and then. Yap is also the Parish Finance Council President. Providing water to all constituents and inviting investors are priorities for him if elected as mayor. Yoyoc was the vice mayor when foreign firm Hanjin did not push through with its plan to put a plant in the town. Many believed it did not push through because of Emano's attitude towards the Koreans. The third mayoral candidate is Heckert Vega-Emano, an incumbent Provincial Board member representing Misamis Oriental's second district. He is the first cousin of Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Emano. Heckert's father, well known surgeon Dr. Hernando ”Nandy” Emano is the elder brother of former governor and former Cagayan de Oro city mayor Vicente Emano. Heckert will run under the former mayor's Padayon Pilipino party. The fourth mayoral candidate is Dr. Serena Ranizez Emano, ex-wife of the incumbent Tagoloan mayor. The good doctor is said to be running after she was disappointed that her son with Mayor Paulino Emano wasn't picked as his successor. It was whispered to me that the decision was made by Paulino's brother and Padayon founder Vicente Emano. Many have tried but failed to end the Emanos rule in Tagoloan. One person I can remember trying was the late Ignacio Totong facture who was really a good mayoral candidate. Some are already dead while others are still alive but have lost their voice or kept their frustrations in their heart. Others already joined them but there remains other people who wish to end the five centuries rule of the Emanos. Tagoloan town remains the bailiwick of the Emano clan and they would do everything to hold their fort. Before becoming governor, Vicente Emano ruled Tagoloan for three terms of three years each, while his son Yevgeny Emano also ruled Tagoloan for three terms. Paulino “Oloy” Emano ran Tagoloan for six three-year terms or 36 years. This doesn't include the rule of their grandparents Mayor Antonio Cosin and Tecla Cosin. Not that they aren't good people, they have done a lot for the people and the town. It's just that I am sure that there are Tagoloan residents who want new faces, not another Emano in office. Public office isn't a monopoly but the Emanos have kept a tight grip on Tagoloan for all these years. It's up to the Tagoloan residents if they are satisfied with the service done by the Emanos. I don’t want to judge because that would be another story. But the time will come when the people will get tired and vote for someone else to lead them into the next decade. When Vicente Emano lost in the mayoral elections in Cagayan de Oro in 2013, it signaled to the Tagoloan residents that the Emanos are mortal after all and can be defeated. Many believe that next year's elections will signal the end of the Emanos if Yoyoc and Enan would unite against the Emanos. Inside information I received that there were attempts for the two candidates to meet with the presence of some leaders. The same source told me that Enan already begged Yoyoc to give him just one term as mayor while he runs as vice mayor so the Emanos won't stay in office one minute longer. From another source I learned that Yoyoc is amenable to the idea but it's his father Sergio Yap who isn't agreeable. Both men would be at a disadvantage, say my source, as Heckert would have the solid votes from the Emanos. If Tagoloan residents decide that they are tired of the Emanos and want a change in leadership then Yoyoc may be the winner. But based on my source, Tagoloan town is still ruled by clans and that would favor Enan who comes from the vote- rich Sabio clan. Still, many Tagoloan residents still believe that Enan and Yoyoc will join forces. And I couldn't blame them since it's still a long way to go until December 10. PS: I would like to greet and thank Lorna Maandig of Pag-Ibig for reading my columns at Mindanao Daily News. (Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines is now employed teacher assistant in one of the school systems in the Carolinas.

READ MORE
Who is the true leader?

June 30, 2015

The above question can be asnwered by an educated guess. It is based on a learning organization theory. In any country, the ideal leader is always expected by the people. He or she must be the figure beyond the average level of others being led in that country. As such, it is essential for the whole nation to screen the candidates for finding the most ideal leader for them. In fact, the case is not that so easy to find the ideal leader. But, the laymen or people in general, I believe, need to know how to define the real leader for their country. According to J Sakiyah Sandifer (2006), there is a key phrase to define the true leader. He said that the true leader is not how many followers he or she has but how many new leaders he or she has created. So, don’t worry with the survey results. People should know. This statement seems so simple. But, when we try to digest the meaning behind that statement, we can provide the laymen with knowledge how to choose their true leader. Still based on the above statement, the true leader can be measured by how many new leaders he or she has created. In education terms, this statement indicates that the followers (or the people) in a country are triggered to learn the ways of lives. By doing so, the people are more and more educated, and of course, getting aware of what they have to do with their responsibilities as a nation. In certain instances, it is like the subordinates in an organization. In that arena, they must learn a lot. So, the true leader creates a learning organization. All the nations in the whole country are becoming more and more empowered. In this condition, they can go to the way to the vision and mission their leader directs them to. That is a learning organization. Eventually, there is no term of political dynasty. When it is in a learning organization, all the disciples are enjoying the lives because they are made aware. They are more and more educated. In the long run, they can become the new leaders, following the trace that has been opened widely by their leader. All infrastructures, all social, economic, and political aspects are developed and lifted up for the nation welfares. All these can empower the nation to live. Implicitly, the true leader does not make himself or herself selfish. He or she is becoming more and more properous while his or her people are on the other way around. Learning organization has a final goal to make the disciples more prosperous. When they live with adequate facilities, or good infrastructures they are the symbol of their true leader. So, it is easy to define the true leader. When there are more new leaders in a country it is the symbol of the true leader. When the whole nation in a country are becoming better in their lives compared with when they were previosuly, that is the symbol of thier true leader. So far, any nation in any country can be given the above criteria. We can trace any leaders, wherever we are now living by looking back at their track records. How much life we have enjoyed so far in our surounding environment. How much infrastructures we can enjoy in our entire territory. And, of course, how many new leaders we have in our city or a country. Without a learning process, a new leader cannot be created. That is the key to measure who the true leader is. Dr. Djuwari is the advisor of Indonesia Association of Press Practitioners/ Journalists in East Java province (HIPSI), Indonesia. He is also the president of the International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER).

READ MORE
A Great Mission through WRF 2014

March 22, 2014

Welcome to World Research Festival (WRF), in Cebu city, on May 1-3, 2014. The theme chosen is “Research for a sustainable world!” This is a great event for intellectuals around the globe for some reasons. When we consider the objectives, we will realize that this academic activity is essential. This WRF has some objectives. First, it is for world student forum, such as (1) to provide a forum for professional and student researchers across the world as means for dissemination and utilization of high impact researches. By achieving the objectives above, we believe that there are some beneficial outcomes. First, for university students, they can measure their potentials. They can meet their colleagues with the same professions in the same levels. Second, it is for enhancing world collaboration for intellectuals, such as (2) to nourish collaborations among researchers and institutions in the promotion and production of researches. In this case, researchers from various countries can boost their research activities recognized worldwide. Mostly, universities need their fame as noted in webomatric that is the web for ranking the universities throughout the world. Third, it is for appreciating good quality researchers. That is (3) to recognize meritorious contributions of world researchers and institutions. In quality culture, recognizing others’ performance is one of the ways to make good habit remain constant. Esteem and other recognition given to the deserved are important. A good habit can progress and be sustainable. Last of all is making the output of the research well disseminated. That is (4) to promote quality research publications as credible sources of scientific literature. The academic journal articles are published in trusted journals. In IAMURE, we can find some academic journals for publishing the research results. These will be read widely by worldwide public. Thus, the researchers will be worldwide recognized. By achieving the objectives above, we believe that there are some beneficial outcomes. WRF 2014 is the continuation of the previous world research festivals. This indicates a sustainable intellectual activity. The most important aspect in ISO (International Standard Organization) indicator is having a good quality culture. One of these is the sustainable activity. The greatest action exhibited by intellectuals can produce great ideas. This can be done by an initiative for doing anything related to research. Research and creativity are the two complementary components. A great habit is now being crafted by all who intend to join WRF 2014 in Cebu city, the Philippines, on May 1-3, 2014. I would like to express “Warmest greeting from the representative in Indonesia. We wish you all great success.” Dr. Djuwari is one of the editorial boards of IAMURE journal publications, director of Language Laboratory, STIE Perbanas Surabaya.

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.