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Timesman | ‘Balikbayan’ in 300 days

Chicago, Illinois–The Philippine Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced that the Philippine driver’s license is valid for driving abroad for the duration of three months. Permanent residents in the US must apply for a state-specific driver’s license within three months upon arrival. Regulations on the duration of the validity of your Philippine license may vary depending on the state.

This announcement is embodied in the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (2017 edition) Handbook for Filipinos migrating to the United States of America.

Most people in the US use state-issued driver’s license as their main identity card. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), LTO in the Philippines, issues driver’s license that allows you to drive a car anywhere in the US or Canada valid for three months upon arrived. Your driver’s license also serves as a form of identification.

My driver’s license back home will expire only in 2025.

As mentioned in my previous column, I intended to apply for driver’s license but eventually dropped the idea after I observed that motorists here are fast drivers while I used to drive 30 kilometers per hour in Davao City. If I apply it here, I will be a laughingstock of other motorists or maybe apprehended for driving like a pagong (turtle)!

While the driver’s license will serve as main identity card, the Social Security Card and the Green Card which I simultaneous acquired in less than a month upon arrival are enough to prove my identity as a legal and permanent US resident. The SSC is valid for two years, while the Green Card is for 10 years. So, goodbye na lang driver’s license!

As a permanent resident, I am allowed to leave and re-enter the US multiple times “as long as you do not stay outside the US for one year or more.”

Two weeks ago, I petitioned the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to allow me to leave for the Philippines on July 24 and will stay there for 10 months, or less than 300 days. My reason is that I still have a minor son, Jin Lorenz, living alone in Davao City. My son is now enrolled at the Ateneo de Davao University this semester with an AB International Studies course. I want to observe his first 10 months in college.

The USCIS acknowledged my application and I am still waiting for its notification for me to appear personally for a scheduled biometrics appointment maybe anytime this week.

Since I really intend to make US my permanent residence and I am willing to wait for my remaining retirement years here with my Phil-Am daughter Tala, hopefully, the USCIS will positively act on my request.

Again, let’s pray to the days when I savor my first 300 days as a ‘Balikbayan’ in my native land.

-o0o-

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has warned the public against heat stroke and advised them, particularly the school children and the elderly, to limit the amount of time they spend outdoors.

“Avoid being under the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s bad for the body to be exposed during those times,” the Health Secretary said.

In my situation where I always face the cold weather as if I am always in front of a refrigerator, daily walking at high noon is a common sight here. Heat stroke is not much of a worry. Ma-freeze baka pa!

And as an added reminder, new research has found that by just ten minutes of walking or other low level of physical activity like gardening per week could still bring health benefits such as a lower risk of death.

Ewan ko, I had been doing almost 30 minutes to an hour walk every morning back home for years and until I arrived here, and I feel that this practice of mine is the secret of my being at this bonus age.

The ten minutes of walking or gardening per week that lower the risk of death as reported by the new finding can’t even cure arthritis or muscle pain if you only have that few minutes of exercise once a week!
If the researchers’ subject is a robot, I will believe them.

-o0o-

The Filipino community here is eagerly waiting for the commemoration of the 121st Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence Day on June 12 featuring for the first time renowned Filipino historian Prof. Ambeth Ocampo to talk about “Rizal: The Hero as a Traveler.”

Mabuhay ang kalayaan!

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