RAO SUBIC BAY
ANGELES CITY, BAGUIO CITY, CEBU CITY, & ILOILO
Thursday, March 28 Maundy Thursday (PI)
Friday, March 29 Good Friday
??Monday, April 1?? [Probable Travel Day (PI)]
Tuesday, April 9 National Hero’s Day (PI)
APRIL MEETING DELAYED TWO DAYS The April RAO meeting will be held Thursday,
April 11 (Birthday of the Submarine Force) due to the holiday on Tuesday, April 9. We
anticipate attendance of representatives from American Citizens Services, Department of
Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration.
CONCURRENT RECEIPT – URGENT ACTION NEEDED It is not be too late to affect the
ongoing dialog about funding concurrent receipt of disability and retirement pays. If we don’t
raise a collective loud voice, it won’t be funded.
Contact your Congressman by phone, e-mail, urgent letter, or fax and ask them to support H.R.
303. See http://capwiz.com/troa/issues/bills/?bill=7549 for additional info.
INDIVIDUAL TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (ITIN) REQUESTS Any member
desiring to submit the forms via Capt Jack McDonald must provide the documents and a stamped
envelope to the RAO Director by March 15.
The General Instructions on the back of IRS Form W-7, Application for an ITIN, specify that
documents submitted in support of the application be the originals or copies certified by the
issuing agency or official custodian of the original record, by a US notary public, or by a
consular officer at a US Embassy or consulate. In the Philippines copies will have to be
authenticated or certified by the US Embassy since applicants are reluctant to send their original
documents to IRS in the US. However, consular officers of the US Embassy are not empowered
to authenticate public documents (such as passports, military ID cards, drivers licenses, etc.)
issued in the US or abroad because of fraud risks since they do not have access to the records of
the issuing office or seal and signature of the custodian of records. Thus, when certification of a
true copy of such documents is needed, the Embassy instructs applicants to contact the issuing
office, embassy or consulate of the country where the documents were issued for assistance in
certifying the copies.
Only marriage contracts and birth certificates issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in
Quezon City may be authenticated by the Embassy in support of W-7 applications.
The Embassy will authenticate the NSO (Quezon City)-issued certificates free of charge if used
for W-7 applications. Authentication of NSO certificates for other purposes are charged
As an alternative, CAPT Jack McDonald will be recalled to active duty for the period of 8-16 April while attending the Retiree Council meeting in Washington, DC. During that time he can certify documents at no cost. Anyone who wishes to submit an ITIN application (or any other document requiring Embassy notary) can give him the package prior to his departure in mid-March. He will carry it with him, certify the documents while on active duty, and put the package in the mail for you.
MEDICARE PART B - LAST CHANCE To be eligible for TRICARE for Life, you must be
eligible for Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B. This is the last month this year for late applications for Medicare Part B. You have from now until March 31, 2002. If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and have not enrolled in Part B, failure to apply now will result in your waiting until next year Jan-Mar. For all you “fence sitters,” you have seen this year that the
system works so get off your rumps and get in line for medical care you worked for and deserve.
NEW PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING PASSPORTS Effective April 8, 2002 American
citizens residing or traveling abroad who require issuance of a U.S. passport will be issued the latest, state-of-the-art passport incorporating a photo-digitized image and other enhanced security features. U.S. Embassies and Consulates will achieve this
goal by transferring the passport request to a domestic U.S. passport facility for production. This will increase processing time at most U.S. Embassies and Consulates, but the State Department is committed to ensuring that American citizens receive secure documents in a timely manner. American citizens are encouraged to apply early for renewal of expiring passports.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates will continue to issue passports in emergency cases. Such passports will be for a short expiration date, and cannot be extended. Bearers will therefore be required to exchange their limited validity passports for a full-validity photo-digitized passport upon completion of their emergency travel.
In the Philippines passports can still be obtained or renewed after verification of the application and supporting documents at the Embassy and during Outreach Program visits to the RAOs. (See the next article item.) However, it will take longer to receive the passport since the application has to be mailed to the U.S. for production of the passport, then returned to the Embassy.
PERSONAL APPEARANCE WAIVED FOR ADULT PASSPORT RENEWAL
Under certain conditions, you no longer have to appear personally to get your U.S. passport renewed. If the applicant was at least 16 years old when his/her most recent passport was issued less than 15 years ago, the applicant may have an adult representative come to the Embassy on his/her appointment date to submit the application and pay the passport fee of $40. The representative must have a photo identification, authorization letter from the applicant to file the application and pay the fee, completed application form (DSP-82) with four identical 2 inch x 2 inch passport photos, and current U.S. passport of the applicant.
TAX PREPARATION ASSISTANCE Tax season is here again! The Embassy will have an
IRS taxpayer service representative in residence from March 25 until April 16. You can make an appointment with the representative by calling 02-523-1001, ext. 2246/2530. The IRS representative will also be making an outreach trip to Olongapo on April 10. The RAO will publish a flier when details are known.
Tax forms and booklets are now available at the RAO and they are available on the IRS website at http//www.irs.gov. Please ask at Window ACS-10 anytime between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm, Mondays thru Fridays, for assistance.
VA OUTPATIENT CLINIC MANILA EXPANDS SERVICES Beginning March 1 and in
accordance with a provision in law passed specifically for veterans in the Philippines, the VAOPC treats non service-connected conditions for those with any service connected disability
(even if rated at 0%). These services are limited to the scope of outpatient services available at the VAOPC. You cannot be referred to any other facility, and local care is not authorized for this expanded program.
You are not required to take any special action at this time. On your next regularly scheduled appointment at the VAOPC your Primary Care Provider will review your health concerns and establish an appropriate treatment plan that will address all of your disabilities (both service-connected and non service-connected). Note that this care is not authorized in any other country outside the U.S. and some of its territories.
These are the scope of outpatient services available at the VAOPC:
a. Primary Care
b. Specialist care in the subspecialties of:
? Mental Health
c. Radiology and laboratory in-house diagnostic procedures
d. Ancillary services of:
? Social Work (includes home visits)
Issuance of pharmaceuticals will be limited to VAOPC formulary products that are prescribed by VA physicians.
Issuance of prosthetics will be limited to stocked prosthetic appliances to include canes, crutches, wheelchairs, commodes, body braces and fabricated limbs. Non stocked items such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and special ordered appliances such as respiratory care equipment will not be authorized for non service-connected purposes. Although hearing aid batteries are stocked items, they may only be issued as replacements for VA provided hearing aids.
Travel will not be paid when the clinic visit is scheduled solely for treatment of non service-connected conditions.
ASBESTOS CANCER STRIKES NAVY RETIREES Sadly, many Navy retirees are now
being diagnosed with asbestos related cancers from exposures they had in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Asbestos diseases have a long latency period and it takes decades after exposure for the diseases to show up. Anyone who worked in the shipyards or aboard ship is at risk. Before the mid 1970's, asbestos was used heavily in ships to insulate boilers, pipes, and other high temperature vessels and equipment. Those who worked as
machinist mates, shipfitters, mechanics, insulators, pipefitters, welders, firemen, boilermakers, boiler tenders, carpenters, electricians, painters, and laborers in the shipyard were exposed daily as part of their job. They would cut, saw, mix, or tear out a variety of asbestos insulation products, including pipe covering, block insulation, firebrick, asbestos cements, gunnite, gaskets and packings, asbestos cloth, gloves, etc. Asbestos fibers stay in the air and are not visible to the naked eye. Therefore, anyone who served below deck, regardless of their job duties, was often breathing air that had a dangerously high concentration of asbestos fibers. Even those who served above deck were exposed in various ways such as sleeping below asbestos covered pipes or by assisting with overhaul chores in dry dock, which was a very dusty environment.
There are two main categories of asbestos-related disease; cancerous and non-cancerous. Among the cancers are mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lung or abdomen), lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and laryngeal cancer. Mesothelioma can attach either the lining of the lung when asbestos fibers are breathed or the lining of the stomach when fibers are swallowed. Similarly, lung cancer can also occur when the fibers are breathed. Asbestosis is a scarring of the lung that is not cancerous, but can result in significant breathing impairment. Lung cancer has a significant survival rate if it is caught early enough. Retirees who’ve worked in any of the above conditions should have a yearly chest xray to be read by a radiologist with B-reader certification (certified by NIOSH). Early detection does save lives.
For those with mesothelioma, the options are more limited. There is currently no cure, but cancer centers across the U.S. are making progress in prolonging life for mesothelioma patients. Generally, the incidence of mesothelioma rises with increasing intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos. There are numerous cases, however, among people with very little exposure. Children and housewives of shipyard workers have also been diagnosed with mesothelioma by being exposed to duty from the workers’ clothes.
For more information on medical resources for mesothelioma patients and their families, a web site is available at http://www.mesotheliomaweb.org. Called the Mesothelioma Web, it is designed to give the viewer access to a wide range of information, from common questions to treatment options to patient discussion forums to leading medical/cancer links.
SMOKERS who have asbestos exposure are at increased risk of asbestos-related lung disease.
DUAL RECOGNITION This recaps the information in the October and November 2001 and
February 2002 newsletters.
A child with a U.S. passport and one Filipino parent can obtain a Identification Certificate and a letter from the Bureau of Immigration recognizing the child as a Filipino citizen. The application requirements are listed below.
1. Letter request (notarized)
2. Birth certificate of child (NSO)
3. Birth certificate of petitioner (Filipino parent) (NSO)
4. Marriage contract of parents (NSO)
5. Child's passport
6. Parents passports (Picture and data page only)
7. Affidavit of citizenship executed by parents (2) (notarized)
8. Proof of Filipino citizenship of petitioner at time of the birth of the child.
For Item 8 BI will accept the Filipino parent’s affidavit and PI passport.
For each item, you need the original and 5 copies. They will inspect and return the passports and keep the copies. In all other cases they will keep the originals and the copies. For the notarized items, the notarized original and copies of that notarized original are acceptable. The Certificate of Birth Abroad was not desired
Notary statements must include how the person identified himself/herself. For example, a U.S. passport and the Filipino parent’s Community Tax Certificate and PI passport.
Cost of application: P1,510.
Submission of the package triggered a letter two weeks later requesting the Filipino parent present him or herself at the BI in Manila within five days of receipt of the letter with the applicant’s and petitioner’s passports. (Although not listed in the letter, they also asked for the non-Filipino’s passport at the meeting.) If the petitioner fails to arrive, “…the instant application
shall be dismissed for lack of interest and non-compliance….” You will be introduced to a BI
lawyer who will handle and follow your case. Be sure to get his name and phone number so that you can contact him or her latter for information. At this meeting a hearing date before a judge will be scheduled at BI in Manila (in this case four days later.) If the applicant child is an infant, his or her attendance is not required at the hearing. At some undetermined older age, it would be required that the child be present.
2 to 3 months after the hearing, you will be summoned again to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Manila. The child, regardless of age, must accompany the Philippine parent for the taking of a thumbprint. Document fees of P8,520 are assessed, bringing the total expenditure to P10,040. You will be given an appointment about a week later to pickup the final documents recognizing the child as a Philippine citizen. This is good for life, since a Philippine passport is not issued to the child as in the case of dual citizenship, when the child must decide at age 18 or 21 which passport to keep.
Since the child would be traveling on a U.S. passport, the documents specify that an Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) fee will be assessed any time the child departs from the Philippines. No Reentry Permit is required.
NON-IMMIGRANT VISA INFORMATION Issuing tourist visas is one of the most visible
functions of the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Last year, the non-immigrant visa (NIV) section processed over 250,000 visa applications, making it one of the biggest U.S. visa operations in the world. To meet the ever-increasing demand in the Philippines, the Embassy has introduced a number of innovations to make the process easier and more convenient, including the appointment system, and courier delivery. The long lines in front of the Embassy are now a thing of the past and most applicants are in and out of the embassy within approximately two hours or less. However, tourist visas continue to be a source of speculation and interest among the general public in the Philippines, and myths and misperceptions abound. How does one qualify? How does one apply?
There is a perception that most applicants for NIVs are refused, but in fact, most NIV applications are approved. According to U.S. law, all applicants for tourist visas are presumed to be immigrants. In order to qualify for a visa, the applicant must overcome this presumption by demonstrating to the consular officer well-established ties that would compel the applicant to return to the Philippines in a timely fashion. These ties can be social, professional, financial or familial in nature. How does an applicant do this? The questions of the consular officer during the interview are designed to gather information about the applicant’s intentions, travel history,
and situation in the Philippines. In addition, the application form, correctly filled out, contains much of the needed information. Oftentimes, applicants bring in documents that support their application, such as bank passbooks or statements, employment letters, and/or land titles. Consular officers, however, may not always consult these documents; they will only do so in cases where there may be a question about the information in the application.
Many Americans living in the Philippines wish to travel to the United States with their spouses for a short visit or vacation. In cases like these, it is helpful for the American spouse to bring in documents that demonstrate their permanent resident status or strong connections to the Philippines, such as a working visa, Alien Certificate of Registration, business licenses, or other kinds of evidence.
Applicants must possess a valid passport expiring no sooner than six months after the application for a visa. A $45.00 nonrefundable application fee must be paid at a designated branch of Bank of the Philippine Islands or Citibank prior to applying. Contact a local branch for more information. After paying the fee, applicants must call 1-909-101-0000 to either schedule an appointment or, for certain qualified categories, arrange for courier pickup of the application, passport and other pertinent documents. This is a toll call, costing 20 pesos per minute, and can be accessed only through PLDT, SMART and PILTEL landline phones with NDD access. This is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More detailed information is also available through our website: www.usembassy.state.gov/manila.
EMBASSY REGISTRATION REMINDER In light of recent events, we again urge all
American citizens to register with the Embassy. Whether you are living and working here or just visiting for a few months, it is a good idea to let them know you are here. Not only does it assist us in distributing information in times of emergency, we also have the information to reach you if we are contacted by loved ones and relatives in the U.S. (You should be aware that, according to the 1974 Privacy Act, we cannot give out information about the location or condition of American citizens - unless it is an extreme emergency - without that citizen’s explicit
In addition, should you or any of your family members lose your passport, having a registration form on file makes the replacement process much quicker and easier. If you or someone you know would like to register, please send it back to us, with two photos, by mail or private courier.
Registration forms are available at the RAO.
STREET SAFETY TIPS from the Regional Security Office, U.S. Embassy, Manila
? Assailants tend to prey on people who appear preoccupied, so the primary rule of street
smarts is to stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
? Walk in the middle of the sidewalk facing traffic. Many purse-snatchers ride scooters or
? Don’t wear expensive jewelry when walking or shopping. You’ll only make yourself a
potential target for street criminals.
? If someone stops you to ask a question, step away at least two arm lengths, stand with your
feet shoulder width apart, and speak in a neutral but authoritative tone. Never take your eyes
off the person’s face and hands.
? When walking, keep your back straight, hold your head high, and take a determined stride.
Continually glance to the left and right, so you know who and what is nearby.
? Pickpockets operate most successfully in crowds. While walking through a crowd, women
should tuck their purse in the crook of their arm and keep it close to their body. Keep a hand
over the clasp. Don’t sling your purse across your chest, a purse-snatcher’s yank could cause
a painful neck injury. Men should keep their wallets in a front pocket. When walking
through a crowd, men should keep one hand in their pocket covering their wallet.
? It is always a good idea to keep some money separate from your wallet, so you will not lose
everything at one time. Carry only necessary identification cards, money and credit cards to
avoid losing everything in the event of a theft.
? If someone is following you, walk to the nearest store, restaurant or residence and ask for
? Never accept candy, food, or drinks from a stranger. Knock-out drugs placed in food or
drinks are used as an instrument to rob victims of their money and valuables. Knock-out
drugs, such as Ativon, are commonly used in the Philippines.
? If confronted by an armed gunman, offer no resistance and do exactly as instructed. Assume
that he will use the weapon if his instructions are not followed. Avoid sudden movements or
any type of heroics.
Always notify the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office at (02) 523–1001 Ext. 2290 if you are
the victim of a crime.