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 Amerasians, in the hope that more people around the world will learn of their struggle.
Even after the end of American colonial rule, the Philippines hosted two of the United States’ largest overseas military installations for more than 50 years. The closure of these bases in 1992 left thousands of children, born to U.S. servicemen and Filipino mothers, stranded in the Philippines. These children suffer mockery, racism, discrimination, and self-identity issues. Labeled often incorrectly - as “half dollar," "souvenir babies" - many live in poverty and stigma in an ultra-conservative Catholic society.
In 1982, the U.S. passed the Amerasian Act of 1982, a law that permitted Amerasian children born in Laos, Kampuchea, 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 Congress excluded the Philippines from the Act.
The Amerasian Photography Project is dedicated to increasing awareness of the plight of Filipino Amerasians by sharing their stories through compelling photography, in order to communicate, educate, mobilize and seek social and political reform.