BI ramps up campaign vs illegal aliens
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said they will improve its campaign against illegal aliens entering the Philippines.
In a statement on Friday, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the agency will “ensure that only the legitimate and properly documented foreign nationals may set foot and stay in the country.”
Morente issued this statement after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s remark that the surge of Chinese workers in the country is a security threat.
Morente said the increase of foreign nationals is a “trend” due to tourism concerns.
“The Chinese tourism boom has brought a lot of Chinese tourists to our shores, the same can be said for other countries with popular tourist destinations,” Morente said.
Morente also clarified that they have a “careful assessment” process for Chinese nationals subject to visa-upon-arrival (VUA).
Morento then noted that he respects Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s call to stop issuance of the VUA privilege for foreigners but said that it is up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to task them to do so.
“We are good soldiers and we implement what is the current policy. We will follow whatever direction the DOJ and Malacañang deems proper,” he said.
The BI chief said the VUA program was initiated by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for faster processing in attracting more tourists and investors from China.
Under the program, only visitors endorsed by a DOT-accredited travel agency may apply.
Morente said applicants’ names are verified for derogatory records, noting that they may still be excluded “if found to have doubtful purpose of travel.” /je
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