Binay: Some e-visa applicants' personal appearances must be 'non-negotiable' | Inquirer News

Binay: Some e-visa applicants’ personal appearances must be ‘non-negotiable’

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 08:15 PM August 01, 2023

Even if the new electronic-visa (e-visa) system is set to start this month, Senator Nancy Binay still wants to be certain travelers will make personal appearances at consular offices.

Senator Nancy Binay (File photo by Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

MANILA,  Philippines— Even if the new electronic-visa (e-visa) system is set to start this month, Senator Nancy Binay still wants to be certain travelers will make personal appearances at consular offices.

This should be a “non-negotiable” requirement for some categories applying for e-visas, Binay said.

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The senator is directing her call on Tuesday to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

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“We welcome the implementation of e-visas, not only to positively boost tourism, but also as our commitment to facilitate ease of travel,” she said in a statement.

“In the same vein, we urge the DFA and NICA to refine national security policies to deter undesirable travelers from extra-legally bypassing immigration laws,” she asked the two government branches.

NICA is National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

“Alam naman nating marami ring pumupunta sa Pilipinas na iba ang pakay. Mas i-review natin ang mga sistema at exemptions to avoid any misuse and abuse by some foreign nationals,” Binay requested.

(We know that many people who are coming to the Philippines have different agenda. Let’s review the systems and exemptions to avoid any misuse and abuse by some foreigners.)

The senator heads the Senate committee on tourism.

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E-visa system will pilot in China on August 24.

Other foreign travelers going to the country for tourism and business will soon be allowed entry using temporary e-visas.

While this new system is seen to promote Philippine tourism, the senator reminded government that “every visa decision has a national security dimension.”

“Certain parameters on security should be in place,” she said.

“Apply a multi-layered safety plug, plus a face-to-face interview to a narrow category of travelers para talagang salang-sala ang mga pumapasok sa bansa (so that the identities of persons entering the country are thoroughly filtered),” Binay recommended.

In approving visa applications, the senator underscored the need to give prime considerations on cases that are being reviewed based on transnational organized crime-related grounds.

For these instances, she said extensive security screening must be done.

She cited how transnational offenses have become more rampant now, especially human trafficking and prostitution involving lawbreakers and syndicates coming from mainland China.

“Gaano ba kasigurado tayo na ang nabibigyan natin ng e-visa eh talagang mga lehitimong turista?” Binay asked authorities.

(How sure are we that the persons to whom we are granting e-visas are really legitimate tourists?)

“As a matter of national interest, I share the DFA’s position to require face-to-face interviews with tourist visa applicants whose profiles fall in marked categories,” Binay suggested.

The senator then advised DFA to proceed with caution.

She also urged Bureau of Immigration to put in place a system to check on foreigners who are overstaying in the Philippines.

She said DFA cannot turn a blind eye on media reports involving the alleged trafficking of Chinese workers to the country.

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PH will first implement e-visa system for Chinese, Indian tourists

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TAGS: DFA, Nancy Binay, visa

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