THE FORGOTTEN AMERICANS
The project, “The Forgotten Americans," is a series of portraits involving one of the criticized group in the Philippines called the Amerasians. These children, born to Filipino mothers and U.S. Servicemen - who were momentarily stationed in the country - had faced many challenges including discrimination, mockery, and are stigmatized in the highly conservative Catholic country. In 1992, the American bases were closed, and servicemen were forced to evacuate - leaving behind approximately 52,000 Amerasians.
Amerasians in the Philippines have longed for help since their abandonment, desperately seeking societal acceptance in the Philippines and legal recognition by the U.S. government. Yet, to this day, both governments have largely ignored their pleas for help. Moved by their heart-wrenching stories and frustrated by their political invisibility, Enrico Dungca is compelled to document the faces and stories of these Filipino-Amerasians in the hope that more people around the world will learn of their struggle.
In 1982, the U.S. passed the Amerasian Act of 1982, a law that permitted Amerasian children born in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea to enter the United States through preferential immigration treatment. Though the Philippines and Japan were originally included in the Act’s list of countries, they were deleted at the last minute. To date, it remains a mystery why the U.S. Congress excluded the Philippines from the Act.