DFA: Govt ready to help Pulitzer Prize-winning journo

If worse comes to worst, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who turned out as an illegal immigrant in the United States can seek help from the Philippine government.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said it stands ready to help Jose Antonio Vargas, although it has not yet received from him any request for assistance.

“If [Vargas] asks for help, just like any Filipino abroad who is distressed, the Philippines will provide assistance," DFA spokesman Eduardo Malaya said.

Vargas shared a Pulitzer Prize — a prestigious American journalism award — with colleagues at the Washington Post for covering the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in US history.

The US Embassy in Manila, meanwhile, said it has no role to play on the issue, explaining that immigration cases are handled by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Issues of possible undocumented or illegal presence in the United States are under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security in the United States," said acting embassy spokesman Alan Holst.

There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, of which 300,000 are Filipinos, US government data showed. — JE/VS, GMA News