According to the US Dept of State, there are more than 300,000 American citizens actually living in the Philippines. There is the large US Embassy Complex in Manila and there is a connection with the US Social Security Administration and the VA in Manila as well. There is a small US Consulate located in the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu Cebu City. One of the best things the US Embassy has on tap is that once per year, there is an annual outreach of Consular Officers to cities that are not near either Manila or Cebu. The US Embassy Outreach comes to Bacolod and sets up at the L’Fisher Hotel. Usually, the day after or the day before the outreach is in Bacolod, they set up in Iloilo City.
The powers of the US State Dept are limited in the Philippines. If you are arrested, they are not going to go to bat for you! They are not going to supply you with an attorney, however, they will give you a list of attorneys for you to choose from and pay out of your own pocket. They will not recommend any of the attorneys on the list!
If you are in jail or prison, a US Embassy Consular Officer will visit you and make sure that you are treated humanely. They will also supply you with personal hygiene items and dietary supplements. If you are in need of medical care, they will see to it that you receive it but you are paying, not them! The Consular Officer will contact your family for you if you need financial help.
My one dealing with the US Embassy was many years ago in 1986. I had my bank wire $100 to me, to be picked up at the US Embassy. I was shocked and somewhat angry when the US Embassy kept $20 of the $100 for handling fee! Nothing I could do about it, as that is how it was, like it or not!
American Association of the Philippines
You’ve got a friend in the Philippines, if you are an American. The American Association of the Philippines, AAP, is the only private group abroad that that looks after the welfare of American citizens and those of American lineage. The AAP is not funded by the US Government!
The AAP has some fabulous programs in place to assist American citizens and/or their family in the Philippines.
The Educational Assistance Program assists the indigent and deserving dependents of Americans, even if they have been abandoned by their American fathers in the Philippines. This is great! Education continues.
The Medical Program assists with much needed medication, hospitalization and even special needs, such as chemotherapy. Yes, the AAP provides a range of life saving services for those who qualify for the program.
The Emergency Loan Program helps with life’s uncertainties and lessens the burden for those who qualify for a loan. You just never know! Nothing to be ashamed of if you need help. We often have not because we ask not!
The Christmas Basket Program is for those who will not be having a very Merry Christmas, otherwise. Christmas baskets may be the only gift that some Americans and their dependents receive and the AAP will do their best to brighten their lives!
There are a number of other programs provided by the AAP, which are too numerous to write about in an article. As you can see, you’ve got a friend! I will mention that the AAP maintains plots in 2 cemeteries in Manila for the burial of indigent Americans. One is at the North Cemetery and the other is at the American Teacher’s Cemetery, originally for the Thomasites.
The office of AAP is located in Makati, Metro Manila. They can be reached in person, by phone, by fax or by email. The AAP has a large, informative and very interesting website. If you need help, all you have to do is call! I hope none of you ever need the AAP but if you do, they are here for you.