Japanese arrested for working in PH without permit

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2020   •   595

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said its operatives have apprehended a Japanese national in Davao City for working without proper permit and visa.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Japanese man, identified as 45-year old Kiyoshi Yokoyama, was arrested last March 18 at an office in Davao City where he was allegedly employed as general manager.

Yokoyama was arrested after his staff complained of maltreatment.

According to BI intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan Jr., a female employee had complained that last January 3, Yokoyama threatened to physically harm her “in a fit of rage.”

The incident was reportedly witnessed by other employees.

“She said she felt very humiliated that all she could do was cry,” Manahan said.

He also stated that other than disclosing the Japanese national’s lack of work permit, the employees also demanded that Yokoyama be deported “for being anti-Filipino because of his oppressive and abusive conduct towards company employees.”

The bureau said that a check of Yokoyama’s travel history showed that he has been frequenting the country as a tourist since 2013 and that there is no record that he obtained or applied for a working visa with the BI.

A verification made with the Department of Labor and Employment office in Region 10 also showed that Yokoyama did not secure or apply for an alien employment permit.

“We cannot tolerate the continued stay of foreigners who blatantly violate our laws by working without permit and oppress Filipino workers,” Morente said.

BI to implement changes in travel restrictions asap

Maris Federez   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Saturday (Nov. 21) announced that they will be carrying out changes in the country’s travel restrictions effective immediately. 

In a statement released to the media, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that with the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the bureau has carried out the expanded coverage of foreign nationals that are allowed to enter the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Effective immediately, treaty traders and treaty investors, or those issued visas pursuant to Section 9(d) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 are allowed to enter the country,” said Morente.

Section 9(d) visa holders are those alien businessmen who are in the country to carry on trade of commerce between the Philippines and the country to which he is a national of, or invest in an enterprise in the country, the statement said.

Also entitled to the same visa are the alien’s spouse and minor children, as well as the alien’s employees, it further said.

It added that other foreigners allowed to enter the country are those with visas issued by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and Clark Development Corporation. —/mbmf

BI cancels leaves for Immigration port personnel December holidays

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Vacation leaves for Immigration personnel assigned in international airports nationwide have been cancelled to attend to the traveling public during the holiday period in December, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Wednesday.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said port personnel have been banned from going on leave starting next month to ensure that sufficient number of immigration officers are on duty during the upcoming holiday season.

The ban on filing of applications for vacation leave will take effect on Dec. 1 and end on Jan. 15, 2021.

The leave prohibition applies to all immigration personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as well as the airports in Mactan Cebu and Clark, Pampanga, Kalibo, Iloilo, Davao, Laoag and the Zamboanga international seaport, the BI said.

During the 45-day period, no application for leave or authority to travel abroad by any of the said BI port employees will be entertained or approved, the bureau added.

“We have to make sure that our immigration booths at the airports are adequately manned in anticipation of an increase in the number of international travelers who will enter and exit the country during that period,” Morente said.

Several immigration officers have also been detailed as office administrative staff to be on call and ready to perform supervisory and primary counter duties should the need arise, the BI said.

He, however, said that the bureau only expects a slight to moderate rise in the number of passengers who will depart or arrive from abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BI chief noted that many countries worldwide, including the Philippines, have not yet lifted the travel restrictions imposed when the pandemic started last March.

“Thus, we are confident that the number of immigration officers currently deployed at the ports are enough to facilitate the efficient conduct of immigration formalities for arriving and departing passengers,” Morente said.

BI warns outbound Filipinos against traffickers amid eased travel restrictions

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Sunday (November 8) warned Filipinos departing the country to be vigilant against human traffickers who take advantage of the recent easing of travel restrictions.

“We are warning our kababayan not to fall prey to the schemes of these syndicates as they will only put you in harm’s way and expose you to possible abuse,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Morente assured that all immigration officers are on guard against these criminals who are preying on innocent Filipinos and sending them illegally abroad.

“Our officers at the airports have been ordered to thwart any attempts by these trafficking syndicates to send their victims abroad in the guise of being tourists,” the BI chief said.  

“We will not allow them to board their flights and they will be sent home,” he added.

Morente said that with the lifting of restrictions on non-essential overseas travel by Filipinos, immigration officers were instructed to be extra vigilant in screening departing passengers and to refer for secondary inspection those with suspicious purposes for going abroad.

Likewise, Filipinos intending to work abroad were cautioned against using fake travel documents and misdeclaring the purpose of their travel.   

“Aside from passports and work visas, departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) must have an overseas employment certificate (OEC) from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) which they have to present to our officers at the airport,” he advised traveling Filipinos.

According to Atty. Candy Tan, BI port operations division chief, even prior to the easing of travel restrictions on outbound non-essential travel by Filipinos, BI officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) already intercepted scores of passengers who claimed to be OFWs but were caught with bogus travel papers, including fake visas and OECs and tampered passports.

Commissioner Morente warned that traffickers are taking advantage of the pandemic as many Filipinos are in need of a decent job in this time of crisis. 

“These times of uncertainty could be abused by human traffickers, who will promise greener pastures to our kababayan,” he said. 

“Do not fall for their schemes,” he warned.

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