Foreigners joining SONA rally will face deportation, BI warns
Marje Pelayo • July 18, 2019 • 1260
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminds foreigners to refrain from joining any political activity as they are not allowed under Philippine law.
On its Facebook page, the BI warned legal aliens that they may face deportation if they do so as political protests are expected during the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 22).
“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said following incidents of deportation of foreign nationals who took part previous mass actions.
The BI Chief said foreigners who are visitors in the Philippines are not given political rights and privileges of Filipino citizens.
“Follow our laws. It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.
Several foreign nationals have been deported for joining and supporting political events in the past.
The most prominent was Australian nun Patricia Fox who, in 2018, was denied renewal of missionary visa for violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan politics.
“If found guilty, we will blacklist these foreigners, effectively barring them from re-entering the Philippines,” Morente warned.
Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte is still pondering on whether or not to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States Summit in March.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President expressed willingness to visit the United States, however the president is not sure whether his visa will be approved.
Panelo added Duterte might not want to visit the US since some US senators “would be unhappy to see him”. This is amid the resolution of banning the entry of Philippine officials involved in imprisoning former Senator Leila de Lima.
The Palace official also clarified that the President is not enforcing conditions regarding his visit in the US.
“From what I look at his responses, gusto niya pumunta, iyan ang naisip ko, (he wants to visit, that’s what I think),” Panelo said. “[Duterte] just expressed certain sentiments relative to some issues that may affect his entry.”
Duterte has been previously invited by US President Donald Trump but he refused due to the extreme weather conditions in the US as well as the long-hour flight.
Panelo cited that the recent invitation was not a personal one so the President is still pondering on whether to accept the invitation or not.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction rating has reached a new record high, according to the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Based on the 4th Quarter 2019 SWS Survey, Duterte got a 72% excellent net satisfaction rating, which is seven points higher compared to his September rating of 65%.
Malacañang welcomed the survey result saying President Duterte still has the support of the people.
“This means that the President has the support of the people, for which he is very thankful. But more than that, the people support him because they feel his legacy of real change,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar .—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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