Senators slam visa upon arrival policy
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Thursday pressed the termination of a government policy to grant visiting Chinese nationals a 30-day visa upon arrival amid allegations that it has become a source of corruption among immigration officials.
During the hearing of the Senate committee on foreign relations, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III also questioned why the Philippines has been granting visa waivers to Chinese nationals, even without a reciprocal privilege that China grants to Filipino citizens who visit their country.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros told the committee that other panels that had launched a parallel investigation into the “visa upon arrival” (VUA) scheme of the Bureau of Immigration are poised to recommend its termination, including the Senate committee on women, children and family relations, which she chairs.
She said the VUA scheme had given “special treatment” to Chinese nationals, and had supposedly become a source of kickbacks as visitors that were supposed to pay only P1,800 for a 30-day visa are made to pay P7,000 to P9,000.
The inquiry was sought by Senate Resolution No. 309, filed by Sen. Nancy Binay, who sought an assessment of the government VUA policy.
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