BI to foreigners: No extension of March 1 deadline for annual report filing

UNTV News   •   February 27, 2019   •   1900

Foreign nationals arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign nationals living and working in the Philippines have until March 1 to file their respective annual reports to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, foreigners are encouraged to report to any BI satellite office across the country to process their documents in order for their stay to remain legal.

The country’s Alien Registration Act of 1951 requires BI-registered aliens with immigrant and non-immigrant visas to do annual reporting within the first 60 days of a calendar year.

The annual reporting started on January 1 and will run until March 1 and will no longer be extended.

Overstaying foreigners may face sanctions in a form of fine or prosecution that may end up in deportation.

A registered alien is required to present his or her alien certificate registration identity card (ACR I-Card) and pay P300 annual report fee and P10 legal research fee.

Those who are still overseas must report 30 days upon return to the country, provided that they have valid re-entry permits.

Meanwhile, alien minors aged 14 and below, parents or guardians need to report on their behalf.

The list of BI’s satellite offices, guidelines and forms can be accessed and downloaded from the BI’s website www.immigration.gov.ph. – Marje Pelayo

BI: Bahraini man wanted for sex crimes nabbed in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Bahraini national who is facing rape charges in his country has been arrested in the Philippines, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente identified the foreigner as Alsendi Waleed Abdulla Hamad, 43. He was arrested on Tuesday in Dasmariñas, Cavite by operatives from the bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit (FSU).

Morente said Hamad was arrested on orders of the Department of Justice (DOJ) following instruction to verify the presence and status here of the said Bahraini national and, if warranted, to initiate deportation proceedings against him.

Hamad is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the public prosecutor’s office of Bahrain for sexual assault and possession of pornographic materials. Consequently, an Interpol red notice against him was issued two years ago, he added.

“He will be summarily deported as his presence here and record as a sex offender pose a serious threat to our people,” the BI chief said in a statement on Thursday.

Information from the BI showed that Hamad fled to the Philippines in March 2016 after being accused of sexually assaulting a female victim in his apartment.

He is being detained at the BI warden facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City pending issuance of the order for his deportation by the bureau’s board of commissioners, the bureau said.

Hamad will also be placed on the immigration blacklist and banned from re-entering the Philippines, it added.

BI warns OFWs vs extortionists, fixers posing as immigration officers

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday warned overseas Filipinos workers against a modus involving fixers pretending to be immigration officers to extort money from their unsuspecting victims.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the warning citing a complaint that they received from an aspiring OFW last December 2020.

“We have received a complaint sometime in December regarding a Filipino worker who wanted to depart to Dubai under a tourist visa, but was intercepted at the airport,” Morente said in a statement.

“An immigration officer who introduced himself as James approached her and offered to escort her for a fee,” he added.

According to the complainant, “James” claimed that he was assigned as an immigration officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and had the capacity to allow the victim’s departure.

The victim said she initially transferred P7,000, followed by P28,500 through bank transfer to the suspect. She again later transferred P39,500 upping her total transfer to P75,000 and attempted to depart but was intercepted again.

“The victim tried to ask for her money back from the suspect but he made excuses about it. Upon verification with our records, we had no such employee,” Morente said.

Morente said they had sought the help of government intelligence agencies, as well as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in pursuing the case against the fixer.

“I am unable to disclose the details of the said fixer, but we received intelligence information yesterday about him. We already have his identity,” he said.

“I have instructed our Travel Control and Enforcement Unit and Intelligence Division to coordinate with the NBI and ensure that this person faces the harshest penalties of the law,” he added.

Morente urged OFWs not to entertain offers of fixers and extortionists so as not to fall prey to their schemes.

“They are sweet-talkers that will entice you to attempt to work illegally, but we have already measures in place to prevent that from happening,” he said.

“Report any fixing and extortion attempts to the police to make sure that they are arrested and they are prevented from victimizing other people again,” he added.

NBI tapped to probe cohorts of alleged fixer nabbed in BI premises

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has ordered an investigation into the possible cohorts of an alleged fixer who was recently arrested within the bureau’s premises.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe as well the three Chinese nationals involved in the incident for the initiation of their deportation proceedings if they have committed immigration violations.

“We are coordinating with the NBI in this investigation to see if there are any cohorts inside the Bureau, and to strengthen protocols to prevent illegal fixers from extorting aliens,” Morente said in a statement on Sunday.

The move follows the arrest last Thursday of a law firm employee, identified as Vivan Lara, at the BI’s main office for alleged extortion of three Chinese nationals.

Lara was reportedly an employee of a law office accredited to transact with the bureau. But documents show that her personal accreditation already expired in January and that she is no longer authorized to transact with the BI.

Local media reports stated that Lara was arrested after allegedly receiving P900,000 marked money to process the passports and visas of the three Chinese nationals.

Morente said the arrested individual has been ordered barred from entering and transacting in any BI office, adding that a fact-finding committee has been created to look into the incident.

“We are also investigating the breach of security protocols inside the BI building, as she was able to enter despite her ID expiring last month, as well as use an office for her transaction,” he said.

“We had our men scan CCTV footage to look into possible accomplices of Lara, as well as ensure that the BI grounds are rid of fixers,” he added.

Morente also said that the accreditation of the Calalang Law Office, Lara’s alleged employer, has also been suspended indefinitely, pending the results of the investigation.

The BI stressed that it has strict protocols in place in allowing accredited entities to enter the building. Aside from an odd-even scheme for social distancing, they may only transact at designated windows.

“Only authorized personnel may enter offices. Unauthorized entry (of accredited entities) will merit revocation of accreditation,” he said.

Morente also noted that procedures, timelines and fees are found in the BI’s website at www.immigration.gov.ph.

“We are very transparent with our procedures. All fees are found in our website to prevent unscrupulous individuals from tricking aliens into paying exorbitant amounts for their application,” he said.

“We are beefing up our strict no fixers policy. We will not tolerate fixing of any kind. Any fixer caught by our men will be turned over to the police for the filing of criminal charges,” he added.

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