Immigration Bureau arrests 36 foreign nationals during illegal gambling operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2021   •   236

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested 36 foreign nationals during a massive illegal gambling operation at the Double Dragon Plaza Tower 3 in Pasay City on Monday (April 19).

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, they received reports of foreign nationals working without appropriate permits.

An investigation was conducted and has verified that the company is unlicensed and is not authorized to operate.

The 36 foreigners consist of 2 Chinese nationals, 2 Indonesians, and 32 Koreans.

BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. reported that the company was discovered to be engaged in illegal live studio gambling.

“Apart from the live studio, they were also conducting illegal and clandestine online gaming operations,” he said.

“We initially rounded up 40 individuals but found 4 of them to be sufficiently documented, being permanent residents in the country. However, the other 36 were unable to present their passports and visas, and were caught in the act of working illegally,” he added.

Morente warned illegal aliens not to commit illegal activities.

“We call on all foreigners to legalize your stay,” said Morente. “Do not take advantage of the pandemic, because despite the challenges, our work never stops, and we will continue to arrest, deport, and blacklist any alien who dares to disobey our laws,” he warned. AAC

Immigration Bureau to impose travel ban expansion in 4 countries starting May 7

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has expanded its restriction to travelers from four countries beginning May 7.

In an advisory, the Immigration Bureau announced that they will be implementing restrictions for travelers coming from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh starting May 7.

However, passengers who will only be transiting through India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, will be allowed to enter. They will only be required to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine.

“Those who would be coming prior to May 7 will be allowed, but will be referred to the appropriate agencies to undergo a strict absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine and RT-PCR testing,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong clarified that the spouse and children of Filipinos or former Filipinos who are traveling to the Philippines without the Filipino or former Filipino spouse or parent may only be allowed upon the presentation of a valid 9(a) visa and an exemption document from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“This is in compliance with the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, temporarily banning the entry of aliens holding temporary visitors’ visas,” said Capulong. -AAC

More than 1,200 BI frontliners to get COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday announced it will roll out the COVID-19 vaccination for its frontline workers this weekend.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said they are looking to inoculate a total of 1,250 immigration personnel starting this April 24 to 25.

Immigration personnel eligible for vaccination will receive government-procured Sinovac’s CoronaVac jab, which will be administered in two doses in an interval of 28 days.

A pre-screening will be conducted on the medical history of the officers to determine those who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“We have scheduled vaccination of our eligible employees on a weekend so as not to hamper our daily operations,” Morente said.

Adhering to the priority list given by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the BI will start vaccinating employees who are senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.

“The continuous rise of COVID-19 cases accentuates the need to vaccinate our frontliners, especially those belonging in the most vulnerable group such as the seniors and persons with co-morbidities. We want to assure their safety from the threat of the deadly virus,” Morente shared.

BI Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson of the bureau’s COVID-19 Task Force Aldwin Alegre said that despite vaccine rollout among immigration officers, they will continue to implement basic health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining physical distancing, and checking body temperatures.

“Our frontliners are one of the most exposed and have a high risk of contracting the highly transmissible virus. As such, we will continue to make sure that all health protocols are being followed,” Alegre said.

“I am confident that as our officers get their jabs, we will be able to carry out our mandate better and with less worry,” he added.

The BI has so far recorded 300 COVID-19 infections among its personnel.

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.

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