PH Immigration launches online appointment system for clients at main office

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020   •   335

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said it is launching an online appointment system for clients in its main office in Intramuros as Metro Manila and other areas in the country transition to general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the bureau adapted the online appointment system as part of its ‘new normal’ protocols designed to observe social distancing and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The BI earlier said it will be transitioning to digitized arrival cards and paperless travel systems to minimize contact between passengers and immigration officers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the system, only clients with appointment code will be served during the specified date and time of the appointment, and clients will have to present government-issued or valid identification cards before they could enter the bureau’s premises, Morente said.

But the BI chief said that other clients may still avail of the services of the bureau-accredited travel agencies and law offices “if they wish so that the latter may secure the online appointment and transact business on their behalf.”

The complete set of instructions and requirements needed for every BI transaction can be accessed thru the bureau’s website at www.immigration.gov.ph.

Those who have inquiries or complaints are advised to course their concerns through the BI’s online social media platforms and telephone hotlines. The details of which can also be found in the said website.

​Meanwhile, BI OIC Spokesperson Melvin Mabulac clarified that foreigners who are holders of Permanent Resident Visas are not allowed to enter the country under existing travel restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Infections Diseases (IATF).

Foreign crew members of airlines, as well as from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), foreign spouses, and dependents of Filipino citizens, and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

BI eyes deportation case against Chinese woman who hit a Makati traffic enforcer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has recommended the deportation of the Chinese woman who went viral for hitting a traffic enforcer and a biker in Makati City.

Immigration acting spokesperson Melvin Mabulac reiterated that foreign nationals staying in the Philippines should also follow the law. There will be no special treatment and no exceptions for them, Mabulac said.

Hindi po ibig sabihin ay isang dayuhan siya ay may espesyal siyang batas. Kung ano ang batas na pinatutupad po sa isang ordinaryong Pilipino, dapat sundin po ng kahit sino pang dayuhan na nandito sa ating bansa, (It does not mean that foreign nationals have a special law. The law followed by an ordinary Filipino should also be followed by any foreign national here in the country),” he said.

Authorities have also discovered that the Chinese woman identified as Dong Li is only under a tourist visa and has not followed the necessary requirements to update her status. The Immigration cited overstaying and disrespect to authority as grounds for deporting Dong.

Basically, dalawa po ang tinitingnan natin. Siya po ay overstaying at the same time, iyong undersirability. Klarong-klaro naman po doon sa social media, at naging viral pa naman, iyong disrespect sa authority. Bawal na bawal po iyan (Basically, we are looking into two (violations). She is overstaying and, at the same time, there is undesirability. It is clear in the viral post on social media that she disrespected a person of authority. That is prohibited),Mabulac said.

The agency already recommended to their legal division the filing of appropriate cases for Li’s deportation. –AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Immigration bureau installs more CCTV cams in PH airports

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is installing additional closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in international airports in the country as part of its efforts to improve passenger monitoring capability and prevent corruption among its port personnel.

In a statement, the BI said more than a hundred CCTV cameras were already installed at Terminals 2 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mactan-Cebu International Airports, and Clark International Airport.

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, bureau’s port operations acting chief Grifton Medina said the CCTVs operate 24-hours a day in all immigration counters at the arrival and departure areas of the four airports, where all activities and movements of people captured by the cameras are recorded on real time basis.

The agency said several CCTV cameras will also be installed at the Davao International Airport, as well as in the ports of Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Bohol-Panglao, Zamboanga, and Subic.

According to Morente, the project is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders to institute more effective measures to monitor passenger movement and the actions of immigration personnel on duty at the airports.

“These CCTVs are effective deterrents against corruption as our officers will now be wary and discouraged to commit irregularities as all their actions will surely be caught on camera,” the BI Chief said.

Medina also reported that CCTVs previously installed at the NAIA Terminal 1 will be rehabilitated as part of the second phase of the project, which will be followed by the putting up of new cameras in several other international ports.

Aside from the ports, CCTVs were also put up at the bureau’s satellite and extension offices in Quezon City, Taguig and Makati Cities.

Suspected American pedophile nabbed in Pangasinan

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has arrested an American wanted by United States authorities for alleged sexual exploitation of a Filipino minor.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente identified the suspect as 69-year old Michael Kent Clapper.

Morente said Clapper was arrested on Monday in San Manuel, Pangasinan during a joint operation conducted by operatives from the bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit, Women and Children Protection Center, and the Philippine National Police Region 1.

The BI chief said the arrest was made after the US Embassy sought the agency’s assistance in apprehending clapper due to his “involvement in possible sexual exploitation of a minor in the Philippines.”

Morente said Clapper has allegedly been in an “inappropriate relationship” with a 12-year old girl.

The Embassy also stated that Clapper’s US passport already expired, making him an undocumented alien who is subject to summary deportation.

“He will be deported for being an undocumented and undesirable alien,” Morente said.

“His continued presence here poses a serious risk to our Filipino children, anyone of whom could be his next victim,” he added.

The bureau said Clapper last arrived in the country as a tourist on March 26 last year.

He is temporarily detained at the San Miguel police headquarters pending release of his swab test for COVID-19.

If he tests negative for the virus, he will be committed to the BI Warden Facility in Bicutan, Taguig City where he will remain until he is deported.

Clapper will then be placed in the immigration blacklist and banned from re-entering the country, the BI said.

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