Arrested Iranian beauty queen requests asylum in Phl

Maris Federez   •   October 21, 2019   •   1551

Iranian beauty queen Bahareh Zare Bahari

MANILA, Philippines – The Iranian beauty queen who got arrested by the Bureau of Immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last Thursday (Oct. 17) is now seeking asylum in the country.

Bahareh Zare Bahari claims her life will be in danger if she is going to be sent back to Iran for breaking the country’s tradition by joining beauty pageants.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will review Bahari’s request if she is qualified for asylum in the country.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they will verify the veracity of Bahari’s claim of being a victim of persecution in Iran.

“The main criterion is the existence or non-existence of political persecution in her home country,” said Guevarra.

The department will also put into consideration the reason for her arrest and other related details.

Bahari’s arrest at the NAIA was brought about by an Interpol red notice of an assault case filed against the beauty queen in Iran.

The said assault to a fellow Iranian, however, purportedly took place in the Philippines.

The DOJ will also determine if an Iranian court has jurisdiction over the said case.

“We’ll consider all relevant factors,” Guevarra added.

To date, Bahari is still under the custody of the BI at the NAIA.

Bahari is Iran’s representative to the 2018 Miss Intercontinental Pageant that was held in Manila in January this year. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

BOC seizes P1.6-M worth of high-grade marijuana at NAIA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 9, 2019

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) intercepted 973 grams of suspected high-grade marijuana at the Port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on December 6.

The suspected high-grade marijuana came from the United States and has an estimated value of P1.6 million.

According to a statement by the BOC on their social media, the parcel declared as “Marvel Comic and Child Sleeping Bag” was intercepted by NAIA customs frontliners and operatives in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“The apprehended item was consigned to a certain individual from Taguig city and was found to contain three (3) vacuum sealed pouches of suspected Kush weed. The suspect was apprehended while claiming the said parcel,” the BOC reported.

“The suspect shall undergo inquest proceedings for violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization Tariff Act,” the BOC added.—AAC

Normal operations resume at NAIA after 12-hour closure

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2019

(FILE) Passengers enter Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Passenger Terminal 3 located in a suburban city in Manila, Philippines on 07 February 2013. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – It’s business as usual again at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday (December 4) after a 12-hour closure due to the inclement weather brought about by now severe tropical storm Tisoy.

The country’s premier gateway was temporarily closed from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Tuesday which led to cancellations of several international and domestic flights.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal reiterates his call on affected passengers to coordinate with their respective airline carriers for rebooking or refunding of tickets.

Unless flight changes are properly coordinated, passengers are advised not to proceed to NAIA to avoid congestion in terminals and to minimize the volume of stranded passengers at the airport. MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

Villanueva urges DOLE, BI to join crackdown on tax-evading POGOs

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2019

Senator Joel Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to join the government’s crackdown on tax-evading Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO).

Villanueva made the statement after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Wednesday shuttered a POGO service provider for failure to register its branch offices in Parañaque City to pay taxes.

“We could only hope that the BIR’s steely determination rubs off on the inter-agency task force assembled to stem the tide that is the influx of illegal workers. Since its organization in May, it has yet to mount a single round of joint inspections similar to the BIR’s effort,” the senator said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Agencies concerned like DOLE and the BI in particular should be at the forefront of inspections such as this. They should be coordinating with the member-agencies of the inter-agency task force consistent with their mandate,” he added.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, believes BIR’s efforts to shut down tax-evading offshore gaming firms could be maximized if DOLE and BI will join its operations.

“Had representatives from the DOLE and BI joined the BIR’s operation this morning, a proper labor inspection in the office premises could have been done, while immigration officials could have inspected the work visas of the employees. We could have maximized the opportunity that BIR already had,” he said.

The lawmaker also called on DOLE to remain committed to its mandate to “only accept foreign workers in the country if there are no other capable, able, and willing Filipino to do the job.”

He also expects the BI to fulfill its commitment to issue guidelines clarifying the working definitions of 14 occupations for which it could issue special work permits.

Meanwhile, Villanueva lauded the efforts of the BIR and the Department of Finance (DOF) to “keep business in check” especially in settling their obligations to the government.

“The Philippines is always open for business as long as companies conform with prevailing requirements and pay its correct taxes due to the government,” he said.

The DOF earlier ordered to close down all POGOs and their service providers that fail or refuse to settle their tax liabilities.

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