With the cat out of the bag after Sen. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa bared that the US travel ban on Filipino officials is in effect, it is a matter of diplomatic courtesy if not the duty of the United States government to inform the Philippines on who are actually covered by the restriction.
It is the prerogative of the state to choose who it considers undesirable to enter its territory, but it is incumbent
on keeping good international relations to be transparent about the persons affected.
The Philippine government, for instance, is specific about denying entry to Democrat Senators Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy and Edward Markey to the Philippines.
Also, it was clear about requiring US citizens to start applying for a visa to visit the Philippines since the US restriction is in effect.
The Palace earlier indicated that President Rody Duterte’s order to impose the unprecedented requirement will, however, even out travel privileges between Filipinos and Americans.
The three legislators were the proponents of the move to demand the release of suspected drug trafficker Sen. Leila de Lima from detention through the disregard of local judicial processes.
Aside from De la Rosa, nobody else knows that they are stripped of the right to travel to the United States, not that it matters to most officials since there are far more safer places on earth to spend their precious time in.
The senator only learned that his visa was canceled when he inquired with the US Embassy.
“There was no reason given, only that should I want to apply for another visa, I will have to reapply subject to US immigration laws,” De la Rosa said.
The senator said he had to get prior information from US Embassy insiders to have an inkling of the visa cancelation.
Without the heads up, De la Rosa as other officials who are considered responsible for the “unlawful incarceration” of De Lima would have suffered the humiliating experience of being deported, which is an affront to the Philippine government as a whole.
The unfortunate turn of event for De la Rosa happened even as Rody recently received a series of invitations to attend a US-ASEAN Special Summit in which US President Donald Trump appears insistent that the Philippine leader attends.
The action on De la Rosa sent to the Philippine government mixed signals on the invitation since the possibility of a diplomatic rift exists if Rody and some of his officials are denied entry due to the imposition of the Democrats.
What remains clear for now is that the ban on Philippine officials exists after the senator’s visa was aborted.
It is up to Trump and the US government to clear the air over the travel restriction based on arbitrary reasons, which are incompatible with the real situation in the country in which the President is getting unprecedented support for his policies, particularly the war on drugs.
As long as the doubt on the obscure US edict exists, the best option for Rody remains a respectful decline of the invitation due to the hypocritic imposition.