As soon as I was in possession of a passport I got out of the Philippines.: Becoming Minnesotan

Addi Batica at Macchu Picchu, Peru, 2004. Minnesota Historical Society, Oral His
  • Name - Adelbert Batica
  • Age at interview - 61
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.26.2011
  • Addi and Elsa Batica with Judge Rosenbaum after their naturalization ceremony.

    The Journey

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    Essential Question

    Coming to America: What did coming to America symbolize for this person?

    The Journey: How did this person get to the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Ferdinand Marcos became president of the Philippines in 1965 but his second term saw growing violence and unrest in the country, due to increasingly poor economic conditions. The attempted assassination of the country’s defense minister in 1972 led Marcos to declare martial law. Marcos abolished congress and began to rule by decree, he clamped down on individual freedoms and freedom of the press, rewrote the constitution to allow himself additional terms and more power, and began to arrest his opponents.

    Marcos was supported by the public at first, as crime rates fell and the economy improved under his regime. However, as the decade went on public unhappiness with the extent of government corruption and with the force used by the military against dissenters grew.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Adelbert Batica 6
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    Narrator: Adelbert Batica (AB)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: Were political detainees ever given amnesty?

    AB: We were granted conditional amnesty, which literally meant that we were given temporary liberty while we were transferred to house arrest and while our cases were being reviewed by a military commission.

    LM: And in your particular case, how did you get out? Why were you freed?

    AB: Well, I was actually under a house arrest order for — oh, my God — four years? But my status was now in limbo. And then, of course, in 1977, I tried to test the waters by applying to travel abroad. And at that time, I was in Manila applying for a passport and the army intelligence caught up with me, and I was brought back to [Camp] Crame [general headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary].

    LM: Oh!

    AB: For more questioning.

    LM: So you were trying to escape and it was aborted?

    AB: Escape in the open. Byt actually - and this is the strange part - something strange happened. First, army intelligence caught up with me and turned me over to the Philippine Constabulary, which is how the Philippine National Police of today used to be known, the P.C.

    LM: Yes.

    AB: Now, the Philippine Constabulary didn’t know what to do with me. After so many rounds of questioning, they decided to take me to army headquarters, actually to the office of the defense secretary, which was [Juan Ponce] Enrile at the time. Of course, the army officers who were there didn’t know what to do with me either. And I told them, “Well, I have this offer to study community development in Chicago, and I was wondering if you could help me.” And by some stroke of luck, one officer proved to be very helpful. All he could say to me was, “What clearances do you need? Because I’ll sign them.”

    LM: Just like that?

    AB: Just like that. I was given a passport. Of course, as soon as I was in possession of a passport, then, I got out of the Philippines with Elsa. [Laughter] I wasn’t going to wait.

    LM: So you and Elsa both left?

    AB: Yes.

    LM: You migrated to the United States?

    AB: Yes, we went to Chicago as part of an Exchange Visitor Program, a two-year program.

    LM: So it was something that happened fast.

    AB: It happened fast. Our departure happened fast - as soon as I was in possession of a passport.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Adverb:  Beyond the borders of a certain country; in foreign countries.


    Noun: A general pardon by an authority to a large number of people for past offenses.


    Noun: Permission for a person to travel.


    Noun: A person imprisoned or held in custody, especially for political reasons.


    Noun: Any in-between place, state or condition of neglect or oblivion which results in an unresolved status, delay or deadlock.


    Verb:  To change habitations across a border; to move from one country or political region to another; to change one's geographic pattern of habitation; to move slowly towards, usually in groups.  (migrates, migrating, migrated)


    Noun:  An official document normally used for international journeys, which proves the identity and nationality of the person for whom it was issued.


    Adverb:  Concerning or related to politics, the art and process of governing.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2132