BI to employees: No ‘TikTok’ videos while in uniform

Marje Pelayo   •   December 7, 2020   •   450

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday (December 7) announced that it is banning its employees from posting videos of themselves dancing, singing and performing other acts while wearing their official uniform via the social networking service called ‘Tiktok.’

“Our policy on the wearing of the BI uniform is clear,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed.

“As public servants and supposed model Filipinos, employees must proudly wear their uniform at all times, present a professional image to the public and observe proper decorum and good taste in all their actions while they are on duty,” he said noting that the prohibition was imposed to strictly enforce the agency’s regulations on the wearing of the BI uniform.

He emphasized that the integrity of the Bureau’s uniform must be upheld at all times because it represents the institution of the Philippine immigration service.

He added that the posting of such videos on social media by BI employees undermines the reputation of the bureau and creates a negative image for the agency’s personnel, especially the frontline immigration officers assigned in the ports of entry.

Morente also warned BI employees that taking such videos of themselves when they are at work constitutes violation of a standing directive prohibiting the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets while they are on duty.

It also violates the Bureau’s social media policy which states that: “BI personnel must adhere with the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees with respect to their actions online, and to desist from behaviors that would bring disrepute to public service”.  

All employees were likewise ordered to “observe proper decorum on social media to protect the integrity of the agency”.

The order came after several videos of airport immigration officers on Tiktok surfaced online.  The BI chief described the videos as “reckless” which belittles the image of the bureau.

He warned that employees who defy the ban may be charged administratively for insubordination and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service.

Phl extends travel ban; allows aliens with travel exemption

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that foreigners who were given entry documents prior to the implementation of last month’s travel ban may now enter the country.

In an advisory issued by the Bureau, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners with entry exemption documents issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before March 22 are now allowed to enter the country amid an extension of travel restrictions to April 30.

The revised rule is pursuant to the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Morente said other foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering the Philippines and that the Balikbayan privilege for former Filipinos remains suspended.

“The foreign parents, spouse, and children of Filipinos may enter the country, provided they are traveling with the Filipino principal, and have a valid entry visa,” he said on Sunday (April 18).

Based on the IATF’s policy, aliens with valid entry visas currently allowed to enter the country include:

* Diplomats and members of international organizations with valid 9(e) or 47(a) (2) visas;
* Those involved in medical repatriation endorsed by the DFA and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); and
* Seafarers with 9(c) visa for crew change; and (4) those with emergency, humanitarian and analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) or his authorized representative.

Morente said travel exemptions are without prejudice to the mandate of the BI to conduct strict screening and formalities on all arriving foreigners.

Aliens not traveling with Filipino kin not allowed to enter PH during travel ban — BI

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday (April 8) announced anew that foreign parents, spouses and children of Filipino citizens cannot enter the Philippines if they are not traveling with the latter.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated that said existing guidelines on international travel set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) do not allow the entry of foreign parents, spouses, and children of Filipinos if they are traveling alone.

Also, said foreigners should possess valid visas secured in the country’s foreign posts abroad to be able to enter the country.

Morente added that the Balikbayan privilege, which allows the visa-free entry of foreign spouses and children of Filipinos, remains suspended.

The reminder was issued following reports that a handful of aliens were denied at the airports for attempting to enter the country without their Filipino spouse, children, or parent.

Morente stressed that airlines are directed to ensure that only foreigners eligible to enter the country during the implementation of the travel restrictions are allowed to board their Philippine-bound flights.

The Philippines reimposed a ban on the entry of foreigners last month amid the resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The ban, which started last March 22, remains in effect until April 21.

Aside from prohibiting the entry of foreigners, the IATF also ordered a reduction in the number of inbound international travelers to only 1,500 a day.

BI reminds selected aliens with BI-issued visas still need travel pass to leave PH

Marje Pelayo   •   March 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) clarified that some foreign nationals holding visas issued by the agency will be required to present a travel pass before departing from the Philippines.

In an advisory, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said a departing alien must obtain a travel pass from the BI if he or she is a special non-immigrant who is exempted from securing emigration clearance certificate (ECC) and special return certificate (SRC) when leaving the country.

The said ruling is in compliance with an Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) resolution.

The said resolution requires visa issuing authorities to issue a travel pass to departing aliens who were issued visas pursuant to the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 and other special laws governing visa-issuing agencies, except those holding ECCs issued by the BI.

According to Morente, the ruling was crafted by the IATF to allow the BI to be the central repository of data of all foreign nationals in the country.

“While in the meantime, the data is being transmitted to us manually, we hope that in the near future we can start automatic data sharing,” he stated.

Morente advised concerned foreigners to apply for their travel pass at the office of the BI board secretary at the bureau’s main bldg. in Intramuros, Manila.

Applicants for the pass shall submit an accomplished application form and submit a copy of their passport’s biopage, airline ticket, and visa implementation page at least seven (7) days before departure.

Among the aliens who need a travel pass are those who were issued:
* Special Visas for Employment Generation (SVEG)
* Special Non-Immigrant Visa under Republic Act No. 8756 in relation to Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investment Code
* Special non-immigrant visas under PD 1034
* permanent resident visas under Republic Act No. 7837

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