Poe and Tulfo hit 'ridiculous, frivolous' immigration requirements | Inquirer News

Poe and Tulfo hit ‘ridiculous, frivolous’ immigration requirements

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:35 PM March 20, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Two senators are not laughing at the reported “ridiculous” requirements by immigration personnel from passengers using the country’s main gateway.


While investigating the alleged human smuggling at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Senator Grace Poe brought up the case of a Filipina passenger who claimed to have missed her flight because of the lengthy questioning of an immigration officer.

“Meron tayong mga overly enthusiastic immigration officers na kung ano-ano yung mga tinatanong, ano-ano yung mga dokumentong hinihingi. Ewan ko kung yung immigration officer na yun, napag tripan lang yung isang pasahero kaya hiningan ng yearbook o graduation photos. Ridiculous,” Poe said during the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on Monday.


(We have overly enthusiastic immigration officers asking irrelevant questions and documents. I’m not sure if that immigration officer was just power-tripping. That’s why he asked for a yearbook or graduation photos. Ridiculous.)

“We’re trying to avoid human trafficking but this is obviously frivolous,” she also said.

Senators Grace Poe and Raffy Tulfo

Senators Grace Poe and Raffy Tulfo

In a now-viral TikTok video, lifestyle blogger Cham Tanteras ranted about how an immigration officer barraged her with irrelevant questions like asking if her parents were separated or if she brought with her a yearbook or a graduation photo.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has already apologized for what happened and has ordered the relief of the immigration officer, who denied asking for a yearbook.

Still, Poe requested CCTV footage of the interview to find out who was telling the truth.

“But then clearly ang hirap imbentuhin ng story na yun so kung may cctv dun malalaman if unusually matagal sya dun sa booth na yun,” she said.

(But then, clearly, it’s challenging to make that story. So if there’s CCTV, we’ll find out if she was unusually long in that booth.)


BI Commissioner Noman Tansingco, however, told the committee that their CCTV recording is only for 30 days.

Given this limitation, Poe underscored the need for an information campaign to encourage passengers to immediately report any irregularities at the airport.

She also suggested adding more immigration personnel at the airport especially during peak hours.

“Actually, we are already in the process of implementing some reforms…” Tansingco said.

This did not satisfy Poe, as she urged the BI to expedite its reforms.

“Baka naman pwede expedite na kasi allergic tayo sa we will study, kasi minsan it will take forever…” she said.

(Maybe you can expedite it because we’re allergic to ‘we will study’ because sometimes it will take forever.)

At the start of the hearing, Senator Raffy Tulfo also raised many complaints he has been receiving from Filipino travelers regarding immigration requirements at the airport.

According to Tulfo, some immigration personnel were allegedly asking for school records like a yearbook, diploma, transcript of records, bank statements, health certificates and even barangay clearance.

“At noong hindi makapag produce ang mga kabayan natin ng mga hinihinging dokumento, pinahiya at in-offload. Samantalang pag foreign nationals, walang screening na nagaganap, ini-eskortan pa papasok ng eroplano,” he said.

(And when our countrymen could not produce the requested documents, they embarrassed and offloaded them. But when it comes to foreign nationals, there is no screening and they are even escorted to the plane.)

“Bakit? Dahil itong mga foreign nationals may pera, may panlagay, at itong mga pobre nating kababayan na tax payers na nagpapasweldo sa ating mga taga gobyerno haharangin at papahiyain at hindi papasakayin sa eroplano?”

(Why? Because these foreign nationals have money to bribe them, while they would embarrass and offload our poor  countrymen, our taxpayers who are paying the salary of those in government?)

Tulfo clarified he is not against the government’s drive against human trafficking but for equal application of laws.

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TAGS: Grace Poe, NAIA, Raffy Tulfo
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