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AS INFLUX OF CHINESE TOURISTS CONTINUE

Locsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilege

/ 12:00 AM August 01, 2019
Locsin calls Robredo ‘boba' over comment on diplomatic passport cancellation

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (Photo by BEN STANSALL / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. suggested on Wednesday the removal of the visas-upon-arrival privilege for foreigners.

That was his reaction shortly after reports came out of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. warning that the influx of so many Chinese tourists in the country might be a security threat, as some of them had turned out to be undocumented.

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“We need to put an end to visas upon arrival; all visas should be issued by consular offices after vetting,” Locsin said over Twitter.

“We must take extra care in outsourcing any part of the visa application process, picking only the most reputable worldwide,” he added.

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In 2017, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) started issuing visas to Chinese nationals on their arrival in the Philippines to draw more tourists from China.

READ: Entry visas at the airport for Chinese tourists

The number of Chinese nationals arriving in the Philippines has nearly tripled since 2016 with the majority of them working for Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo).

They would often fill up hotel rooms and office towers, swamp condominiums and boost retail sales.

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Their presence has produced some economic benefits, but there has been a mounting public concern that Chinese workers were taking jobs from Filipinos, evading taxes, and committing crimes.

READ: Pogo workers in their midst: Notes from an ‘invasion’

The BI earlier attributed the rush of Chinese influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines to “emerging industries.”

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval explained that the number of Chinese in the Philippines increased due to the thriving call center and online gaming businesses in the country.

READ: BI: Rush of Chinese workers in PH likely due to ‘emerging industries’

Based on BI data, there were 20,956 Chinese nationals holding 9G visa, or the pre-arranged employment visa, in 2017. This figure increased to 22,599 in 2018.

/atm

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TAGS: China, Chinese, Department of Foreign Affairs, DFA, Foreigners, Teodoro Locsin Jr, Tourists, visas
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