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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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DOJ, NBI ready to probe law enforcers over violations in drug operations

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are ready to probe law enforcers who may have committed violations during drug operations.

According to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra they are prepared to investigate authorities who may have committed violations of law related to the government’s anti-drug war campaign.

“The DOJ and the NBI are ready and willing to investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents upon proper complaint by people who have personal knowledge of any wrongdoing by police officers during drug operations until witnesses come forward and testify,” he said in a statement.

This is Guevarra’s response when the Amnesty International called on the Justice department to conduct an investigation related to violations on drug operations.

“There’s no need for Amnesty International to urge us to investigate possible violations of law by  law enforcement agents in the conduct of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign,” he said.

Guevarra reiterated that the police should respect the ‘presumption of regularity’ while performing their duties.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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DOF, expected to earn P2-B monthly tax from POGO industry foreign workers

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Courtesy: Pixabay

The Department of Finance (DOF) has created an inter-agency task force with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in intensifying the imposition of taxes on foreign workers in the country.

DOF Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino noted the increasing number of foreign workers in the country who do not pay taxes.

“It’s not fair to the Filipino worker who is paying taxes regularly when we have foreign nationals working here and not paying taxes. Because they use the same roads. Nakikinabang naman sila sa mga ilaw sa gabi, sa ating mga kalsada, kung anu-ano pang services na meron [They benefit from the electricity, from our roads, and from other services we have],” Lambino said.

The DOF official also said the country can earn 32 billion pesos every year from the tax that can be collected from 138,000 foreign workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) industry.

A data from DOLE shows that 84% of employees of the 182 POGOs that are registered in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) are foreign nationals, most of which are Chinese.

This prompted the task force to come up with a joint memorandum circular which states that the DOLE will not release an alien employment permit to a foreign national who has no tax identification number issued by the BIR.

The DOLE and the BIR will also come up with a database that will set a solid data on the total number of foreign workers in the country and to have a strict monitoring in the taxation of these workers.

The BIR has also issued notices to other POGO providers to remind them to pay taxes that have now reached P4-Billion. (with reports from Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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Bureau of Immigration calls on public to report illegal foreign workers

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Foreign nationals who were arrested for working in the country without a work permit and visa

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has called on the public to report illegal foreign workers in the country.

In the past week, the BI arrested 97 Chinese workers, one minor, and eight other foreign nationals with no working visas.

BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the apprehended workers are from an online business outsource processing company (BPO) and were reported by a concerned citizen.

“Upon checking po ng intelligence division, wala po silang working visa nung sila po ay nagtrabaho dito. And dito po sa 106 na ito, isa po ay menor de edad pa, (Upon checking with the intelligence division, they don’t have a working visa when they worked here. And from the 106 [individuals], one of them is a minor),” Sandoval said.

The immigration bureau is already preparing for the deportation charges against the foreign nationals.

Sandoval also added that reporting illegal foreign workers can help the bureau in deporting these foreign workers.

“Napakalaki pong tulong ang inyong mga reports dahil agad-agad po, napi-pinpoint po natin kung nasaan itong mga illegal aliens na ito, upang agad po nating mahuli at mapa-deport, (Your reports are a great help because we can easily pinpoint where these illegal aliens so we can have them deported),” she said.

Meanwhile, the inter-agency task force of the BI, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and other government agencies will also prioritize illegal foreign workers in construction sites or in other blue collar jobs.

According to DOLE, foreign workers are not allowed to work in manual labor.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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