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BI finds probable cause to deport Chinese girl in taho-throwing incident

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Photo by Pau Mesias

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) Legal Division recommended the deportation of Chinese national, Zhang Jaile, the woman who threw taho or beancurd pudding at a police officer at MRT-Boni Avenue station on Saturday (February 8).

According to the BI, Zhang violated the MRT management’s policy against bringing in and consuming food items inside the train station and for disrespecting a person in authority by throwing ‘taho’ at the officer who was just doing his job of enforcing the station’s policy.

“Our legal team saw that there was probable cause to file a deportation case against her,” said BI spokesperson, Dana Sandoval.

Sandoval noted that once the deportation charge against Zhang is approved, she will be placed automatically under BI’s watchlist.

Sandoval also said that Zhang’s action was a clear violation of immigration laws concerning foreign nationals residing in the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, meanwhile, expressed dismay over Zhang’s action.

“This is an utter display of disobedience and arrogance against a person of authority. The Bureau will not tolerate such acts, as this shows disrespect to the country,” he said.

Zhang arrived in the Philippines in October 2018 on a special resident retiree visa.

She is a freshman student taking up Bachelor of Fashion at the School of Fashion and Arts (SoFA) Design Institute in Makati City. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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18 PH immigration officers suspended over extortion

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the suspension of 18 Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers and employees for allegedly extorting P9.2 million from South Korean nationals.

DOJ spokesperson, Undersecretary Markk Perete said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra issued an order for the suspension of 18 immigration personnel for 90 days, pending investigation on the charges against them.

“The Justice Secretary, after evaluating the sworn statements of the Korean nationals as well as the documentary evidence provided by the BI, found a prima facie case against said officers and employees for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” Perete said in a statement.

The order came after BI Commissioner Jaime Morente himself asked the DOJ to suspend the said immigration agents accused of extorting from 15 Korean nationals who were apprehended last March 6 in Angeles City, Pampanga for alleged overstaying.

The Koreans were allegedly forced to give out money which amounted to P9.2 million under threat of detention.

“The Secretary also ordered them to submit their respective answers within seventy-two (72) hours from receipt of the formal charge issued against them,” Perete said.

He added that the DOJ is currently evaluating the proper course of action as regard with the job order contractors who allegedly participated in the extortion incident.

In line with the probe, a fact-finding panel has also been formed by the BI to verify the allegations against its 18 personnel. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also conducting a separate probe for possible filing of criminal charges.

Usec. Perete said the BI agents may face dismissal from government service, depending on the findings of the investigation.

“If they are found guilty, they may be terminated from employment with loss of all benefits and prohibition from engagement in government,” Perete said. – Robie de Guzman

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PH Bureau of Immigration ramps up drive vs human trafficking

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration has ramped up its efforts to combat the trafficking of Filipinos, especially of minors, to other countries.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement on Monday (March 18) they have directed immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other international ports in the country to “carefully screen departing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)” amid reports that human trafficking syndicates are again recruiting under-aged Filipino women.

Immigration personnel manning booths at the airport were also ordered to strictly screen departing OFWs “to make sure that they are of legal age and are eligible for overseas deployment.”

BI personnel should particularly watch out for passengers who appear to minors or below 23 years old, which is the age requirement for overseas household service workers, Morente said.

The latest measure was enforced after BI officers intercepted a 21-year old Filipina household worker bound for Saudi Arabia last March 13 at the NAIA Terminal 1 before she could board her flight to Riyadh.

The woman has already been turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance.

Last year, the BI reported that more than a hundred under aged Filipino women, many of them minors, were intercepted at NAIA. All of them had passports with falsified birthdates, although they had valid overseas employment permits, working visas and job contracts.

“This syndicate has stopped deploying under aged women, following last year’s numerous interceptions, as well as arrests by local authorities. However, with this recent interception, it seems that this scheme is making a comeback,” Morente said.

“I implore our kababayans who wish to work abroad, do not fall to these syndicates,” he urged. – Robie de Guzman

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BI to foreigners: No extension of March 1 deadline for annual report filing

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Foreign nationals arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign nationals living and working in the Philippines have until March 1 to file their respective annual reports to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, foreigners are encouraged to report to any BI satellite office across the country to process their documents in order for their stay to remain legal.

The country’s Alien Registration Act of 1951 requires BI-registered aliens with immigrant and non-immigrant visas to do annual reporting within the first 60 days of a calendar year.

The annual reporting started on January 1 and will run until March 1 and will no longer be extended.

Overstaying foreigners may face sanctions in a form of fine or prosecution that may end up in deportation.

A registered alien is required to present his or her alien certificate registration identity card (ACR I-Card) and pay P300 annual report fee and P10 legal research fee.

Those who are still overseas must report 30 days upon return to the country, provided that they have valid re-entry permits.

Meanwhile, alien minors aged 14 and below, parents or guardians need to report on their behalf.

The list of BI’s satellite offices, guidelines and forms can be accessed and downloaded from the BI’s website www.immigration.gov.ph. – Marje Pelayo

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