BI warns foreigners against joining protests
With the State of the Nation Address (Sona) just days away, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reminded foreigners that they are prohibited by law to engage in any political activity in the country.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated the prohibition after several incidents of foreign nationals being deported or excluded for taking part in mass actions.
“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” he said in a statement.
In 2013, Dutch citizen Thomas van Beersum was deported after being photographed joining a protest and taunting a crying policeman, while Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Miller was also deported for joining an anti-Sona demonstration.
According to Morente, being a visitor of the country does not give foreigners the political rights and privileges of Filipinos.
“Joining political demonstrations is an utter display of disrespect [for] the country’s authorities, and is equivalent to meddling in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation,” he added.
He also cited the case of Australian nun Patricia Fox, whose application for the renewal of her visa was denied last year with authorities saying she violated the conditions of her stay by participating in partisan political activities.
Also last year, Zimbabwean Tawanda Chandiwana, American Adam Thomas Shaw and Malawian Miracle Osman were ordered to leave for involvement in leftist activities.
“Foreigners have no business joining such activities as it is a clear violation of their conditions of stay,” Morente said.
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