The sad experience of Bernardino L. Flores Jr. of Tarlac City (Letters to the Editor, December 24, 2007, Page 12, PDI) before a consular empress at the US Embassy should be a bitter reminder to our people that diplomacy is missing in that piece of property at Roxas Boulevard.
Flores was made to pay for his visa application and even for the Delbros courier service after he and his wife were interviewed and told that their non-immigrant visa applications were approved.
The US consul even told the visa would be delivered by Delbros quickly, something which made the Floreses practically jump with joy. In common lingo, it was a done deal.
But lo and behold! The Delbros courier brought the couple the sad news as their applications were denied. Only because the other applicant, a relative of the Floreses, had the same contact person in the US.
US consular officials have been condemned so many times for their being boorish, arrogant and gothic in their behavior towards Filipinos. They act haughtily, not thinking that of all the US missions, it is only in the Philippines where thousands of applicants for visas pay through the nose to get that little piece of paper to legitimize their flight to the US. In fact, the consular section makes money, and they will continue to make money by collecting from Filipinos who would be told that their applications are approved, only to be told later that a hitch forced them to reject the application.
Some US staffs in the consular section are a nightmare, a contemptuous lot who still believe that they are overlords here and may as well reject applicants on the basis of their looks.
The US Embassy should reimburse the Floreses and all other Filipinos whom they have mistreated and abused by collecting visa fees for applications that are eventually rejected. In any country, collecting cash for service not rendered is called unjust enrichment.
With the visa fees, denied applicants are suckered to pay without reimbursement, it maintains an embassy which succeeds in getting more revenues, to help support its local operation. It should be a two way relationship. No visa, a refund is a must.