GVB CEO Pushes to include Philippines in Visa-Free Travel to Guam

Former governor Carl Gutierrez said he also wants to works toward increasing tourism from the Philippines. (PNC photo)

Guam Visitor Bureau President and CEO Carl Gutierrez says that GVB “will use the United States Indo-Pacific Command’s overriding defense objectives in Guam and the Philippines as leverage to push Washington, DC for visa waivers for Filipinos seeking to visit Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

According to Gutierrez, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program currently allows passport holders of several nations visa-free access to the US territories of Guam and the CNMI.

However – those that hold a Philippine passport are not on that list and are not eligible for visa free travel to both territories.

Gutierrez’s push comes as the Philippines introduce their House Resolution, numbered 332.

332 urges that Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs “undertake a concerted effort to request that the President of the United States of America include the Republic of the Philippines in the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Guam-CNMI visa waiver program.”

PNC reached out to Democratic Senator Will Parkinson, who recently introduced a resolution asking Governor Lou Leon Guerrero to do something similar.

Senator Parkinson’s resolution, 14-37, urges Governor Lou Leon Guerrero to petition the Department of Homeland Security to add Filipinos within the list of Guam only visa free travel.

In a statement to PNC, Parkinson said in part, “Guam has strong ties to the Philippines, and many Filipinos who chose to stay on Guam, do so because they can keep one foot in the Philippines and one foot in America. An unrecognized third leg of our economy has always been trade with the Philippines.”

Further adding, “these economic, cultural, and historic ties align with the USINDOPACOM strategy of closer American ties with the Philippines.”

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News Director for the Pacific News Center, Don was born and raised on the island of Saipan and moved to Guam in the Spring of 2016 to pursue higher education at the University of Guam. It was at UOG that Don discovered his passion for keeping his peers politically informed. In his free time, you can find him flying his drone or doing landscape and portrait photography. Don joined the PNC News Team to broaden his writing, and to challenge himself to get in front of the camera. Don’s ultimate goal and passion is to have a well informed and politically engaged Marianas.