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DOLE: No rule barring critical foreign journalists from PH

/ 12:29 AM May 02, 2019

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga — Nothing in the new government guidelines on issuing working permits to foreigners bars certain foreign journalists — even those critical of the Duterte administration — from entering the country.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) made this clarification after it signed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the Joint Guidelines on the Issuance of Work and Employment Permits to Foreign Nationals here on Labor Day, May 1.

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“Nothing in the guidelines would state so that we are barring specific foreign journalist or foreign media outfit to come into the Philippines and cover the events of the current administration,” Dominique Tutay, director of the Bureau of Local Employment, said during a press conference after the signing.

She made the statement after being asked for government assurance that the new guidelines would not be used to prevent journalists critical of the Duterte administration from entering the country.

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Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III explained that foreign journalists would be given a special working permit (SWP) if they would be working in the country for a maximum period of six months.

Journalists given special working permits will only work in the Philippines for three to six months, he said. So they will not heed an alien employment permit (AEP).

An AEP is needed if a foreign national applying for a job is not covered in the approved list of categories for alien workers allowed to secure an SWP.

In issuing the AEP, however, it should be provided that no Filipino is competent, able, and willing “to perform the services for which the foreign national is desired.”

Under the joint guidelines, the BI will issue the SWP to foreigners who intend to work, engage in specific activities, or render the following services in the Philippines outside of an employment arrangement:

  • Professional athletes, coaches, trainers and assistants
  • International performers with exceptional abilities
  • Artists, performers and their staff, who perform before an audience for a fee, subject to compliance with the requirements of the concerned agency, office or body
  • Service suppliers coming primarily to perform temporary services and who do not receive salary or other remuneration from a Philippine source other than expenses incidental to their temporary stay
  • Treasure hunters authorized to search for hidden treasure with permit from the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities
  • Movie and television crews authorized to film in the country by the relevant regulatory office, body or agency
  • Foreign journalists practicing their profession or covering a specific event in the country
  • Trainees assigned in government institutions, government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC), and private entities
  • Lecturers, researchers, trainers and others pursuing academic work, who are assigned in schools, universities, educational and research institutions, government agencies and other entities — with or without compensation
  • Religious missionaries and preachers
  • Commercial models and talents
  • Culinary specialists or chefs
  • Professionals
  • Consultants or specialists

‘Positive list’

Tutay said that the guidelines limit the work categories for which foreigners would be allowed to secure an SWP to prevent abuse of the permit with the release of a “positive list.”

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“It’s the first time that we released a positive list to prevent the abuse of the SWPs,” she said, partly speaking in Filipino.“So there are already 14 or 13 categories of workers who could be given SWPs. If they’re no on the list, it’s automatic – they will have to apply for an alien employment permit at the DOLE.”

/atm

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TAGS: DOLE, foreign journalists, special working permits
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