Undocumented Filipinos can soon apply for a consular ID from the Philippine Consulate General in New York.
At the Kapihan sa Konsulado, a regular meeting with the Filipino American Press Club of New York, Consul General Elmer Cato shared that other countries have been issuing their own ID cards for their undocumented nationals in the United States.
He said he hopes to replicate what they did in Libya where they issued consular identification cards to members of the Filipino community as a secondary form of identification.
“While in Libya, the Embassy-issued ID card was intended to make it easier for kababayan who are not holding their passports to go through security checkpoints,” Cato said.
The consulate is calling it as the “Bayanihan ID,” and it is primarily intended for undocumented Filipinos to provide them with an identification card that would be accepted by authorities and establishments.
“Unfortunately, some of our kababayan have the assumption that they will be reported to immigration authorities when they go to the consulate to renew their passports. This is a wrong assumption,” Cato said.
The proposed Bayanihan card is also intended to provide discounts and other incentives from Filipino-owned business establishments and services to benefit both the holder and the Filipino business owners.
Cato added that they are finding ways to provide the ID cards for free and that some community leaders have offered to help. They have been meeting with various agencies, banks, businesses and even community organizations.
“I am overwhelmed by these expressions of support,” he said. “We really want this card to be useful.”