Tamuning, Guam. Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Health, Economic Development, Homeland Security, and Senior Citizens, following the Congressional Address of Congresswoman Madeline Z. Bordallo, Guam’s delegate to the U.S. Congress, introduced Resolution No. 308-33(LS), relative to encouraging Governor Eddie Calvo to petition the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to include the Philippines and Vietnam in the list of approved countries in the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program.
Senator Rodriguez likewise supports Congresswoman Bordallo’s call to Governor Calvo to exercise his authority provided in the 2008 Consolidated Natural Resources Act to seek the U.S. DHS to add the Philippines and Vietnam to the Guam-CNMI visa waiver program.
Late last year, Senator Rodriguez reached out to Congresswoman Bordallo to seek her support and collaboration to establish a Guam-only visa waiver program for the Philippines and Vietnam.
The senator’s office has been following the rapid economic expansion and social rights advancement of Southeast Asian countries over the past few years. Their continuing progress in this regard is meaningfully bolstered by countries opening doors for their inclusion in Western world experiences and opportunities, not by keeping doors closed.
“There is a growing middle class population in the Philippines and Vietnam that have disposable income that Guam’s economy can certainly benefit from. The addition of a new airline from the Philippines, Cebu Pacific this month is also a testament of the desire of more Filipinos wanting to travel to Guam,” Senator Rodriguez stated.
There are numerous sectors of our community, to include island leaders, who have enthusiastically toiled with this idea for many years. A few years ago, Senator Rodriguez was fortunate to be able to discuss the inclusion of the Vietnam market in Guam’s tourism portfolio with the late business icon, Mr. Pedro Ada. This important conversation and ongoing effort continues between the Senator and Mr. Ada’s son, Sonny Ada.
“I am committed to pursuing this effort until Guam has successfully achieved this lucrative economic expansion of our tourism markets by inclusion of the Philippines and Vietnam. I am especially inspired to fulfill the desires of the late Mr. Pedro Ada in welcoming Vietnamese visitors to Guam. I will work closely with Governor Calvo and Congresswoman Bordallo to ensure they are supported in all efforts to make this a reality for Guam.” Rodriguez concluded.
Guam is home to thousands of Filipinos. Aside from the obvious, positive economic impact a Philippine visa waiver program would have for Guam, it is also an opportunity for families to unite and celebrate our shared culture and traditions.