PH Immigration bars entry to 242 suspected illegal workers

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020   •   364

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has denied entry to 242 foreign nationals suspected of intending to work illegally in the country.

In a statement, the BI said the foreigners were intercepted at three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from February 21 to 28, following the relief from the duty of all terminal heads due to the alleged ‘pastillas’ bribery scheme.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said 79 were intercepted at NAIA terminal 1, while 33 were barred entry at terminal 2, and 130 at terminal 3.

He added that foreign nationals include citizens of Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Chinese.

BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. said they noticed attempts by suspected illegal workers to use other ports of entry to come to the Philippines, calling this a “cause for concern.”

“Our frontliners will heighten our efforts in screening these aliens. We are in close coordination with our foreign counterparts in ensuring that no aliens with bad records enter the country,” he said.

“But if they are already in the country before we receive information about their crimes, we will immediately send them out,” he added.

Morente earlier ordered a revamp of immigration personnel at NAIA following allegations that some of them are receiving pay-offs to facilitate the entry of fugitives and offshore gaming operations workers from China. 

The BI chief vowed to expand the probe on the alleged pastillas scheme following statements from whistle-blower Allison Chiong that the said modus reportedly continued to operate “until recently.”

“I have ordered all NAIA heads replaced, and reshuffled all frontline personnel to break any possible collusion among them, this revamp affected around 800 officers,” Morente said.

“We have likewise placed the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit and the Border Control and Investigation Unit under the control and supervision of the Intelligence Division to serve as an external check and balance to monitor airport operations,” he added.

Morente warned that those proven to be part of the alleged scheme will face both administrative and criminal cases.

Immigration bureau reiterates: Pinoy tourists still can’t leave PH due to COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reiterated that Filipino tourists are still prohibited from traveling outside the country due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued a statement after six Filipinos were recently barred from going to Cambodia via a special chartered flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The said Filipinos were reported to be tourists with no essential purpose in leaving the country.

“We want to emphasize and reiterate that Filipinos are still prohibited from leaving the country unless they are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), holders of study visas or permanent residents in the country of their destination,” Morente said.

BI Port Operations Acting Chief Grifton Medina said the six passengers were offloaded from their flight last June 29 after they informed the immigration officer that they were going to Phnom Penh merely to attend a business meeting on shrimp farming.

The Bureau also said it will continue to implement existing international travel restrictions until these are lifted or relaxed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“These travel restrictions are only temporary and we should always bear in mind that the government implemented these measures to protect our countrymen against this deadly coronavirus,” Medina said. AAC

PH Immigration deports 10 more illegal aliens

Robie de Guzman   •   June 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has deported 10 more illegal aliens detained at its warden facility in Taguig City.

In a statement, the BI said the 10 foreigners include eight Chinese nationals and two Mongolians.

They departed from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via separate flights bound for China last June 19, 24 and 25.

“All of them have been placed on the immigration blacklist of undesirable aliens upon orders of our board of commissioners. Thus, they are now banned from re-entering the Philippines,” BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said.

It was learned that five of the Chinese deportees are wanted in their country for economic crimes due to their involvement in illegal online gaming operations and telecom fraud.

The three other Chinese nationals were deported for overstaying and committing fraud and misrepresentation, while the two Mongolians are alleged female sex workers caught in one of the raids of prostitution dens in Metro Manila last year.

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the deportation was carried out as part of the bureau’s efforts to decongest and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at its detention facility located in Camp Bagong Diwa.

“We will continue to send home these foreign inmates once they have been issued deportation orders and provided they have no pending criminal cases in court,” Morente said.

“We are doing this to safeguard the health not only of the foreign detainees but also that of our personnel assigned to our warden facility,” he added.

The BI earlier reported it had deported seven Chinese nationals who are facing charges for economic crimes and illegal black sand mining.

BI: 16,000 foreign, Filipino seafarers cleared at Manila port

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – More than 16,000 Filipino and foreign seafarers from cruise ships that arrived and anchored at the Manila Bay have been processed and cleared during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Friday.

In a statement, the BI said a total of 16,287 sailors were cleared by boarding inspectors – 11,189 of which are Filipinos while 5,098 are foreign nationals.

The bureau said they disembarked from 42 vessels between April 16 to June 15 after undergoing quarantine and getting tested aboard their ships.

The BI added that around 2,300 seafarers remain quarantined aboard their vessels.

Repatriated Filipino seafarers are immediately transported to their places of residence through the help of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Foreign seafarers, on the other hand, are only allowed to disembark upon presentation of a confirmed outbound plane ticket to their country of origin. Immigration personnel will escort them to the airport on the date and time of their scheduled departure, the agency said.

Foreign sailors with Filipino spouses are also allowed to disembark and join their families, provided that they submit a letter-request, marriage certificate, photocopy of passport of Filipino spouse, negative COVID-19 swab test result, and endorsement from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the bureau added.

The BI also shared that last June 11, a group of 122 Sri Lankan seafarers were repatriated to their homeland at the request of their embassy in Manila.

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