PH now allows foreigners to renew expired re-entry permits at airports

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021   •   452

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign nationals with valid Philippine visas are now allowed to renew their expired re-entry permits (RP) and special return certificates (SRC) at the country’s airports, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

The BI said an RP is issued to a holder of an immigrant visa, who is a permanent resident in the Philippines, while the SRC is obtained by a non-immigrant such as holders of working visa and student visa.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the move will facilitate the unhampered entry of foreigners with existing valid visas who were not permitted to enter the Philippines when the coronavirus pandemic struck the world last year.

“Many of these foreign nationals have already expired RPs and SRCs, and the new procedure will allow them to renew this at the airport upon arrival,” Morente said in a statement issued on Sunday.

The bureau said foreigners cannot leave the country unless they have secured their RP or SRC as well as their emigration clearance certificate (ECC).

Official receipts of these payments are to be presented to the immigration officer upon these aliens’ return to the country, it said.

Re-entry permit fees are valid from six months to one year from the date of a foreigner’s departure, it added.

The Philippine government earlier this month eased travel restrictions to allow more foreigners to enter the country by including those with valid visas issued as of March 20, 2020.

Immigration Bureau arrests 36 foreign nationals during illegal gambling operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested 36 foreign nationals during a massive illegal gambling operation at the Double Dragon Plaza Tower 3 in Pasay City on Monday (April 19).

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, they received reports of foreign nationals working without appropriate permits.

An investigation was conducted and has verified that the company is unlicensed and is not authorized to operate.

The 36 foreigners consist of 2 Chinese nationals, 2 Indonesians, and 32 Koreans.

BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. reported that the company was discovered to be engaged in illegal live studio gambling.

“Apart from the live studio, they were also conducting illegal and clandestine online gaming operations,” he said.

“We initially rounded up 40 individuals but found 4 of them to be sufficiently documented, being permanent residents in the country. However, the other 36 were unable to present their passports and visas, and were caught in the act of working illegally,” he added.

Morente warned illegal aliens not to commit illegal activities.

“We call on all foreigners to legalize your stay,” said Morente. “Do not take advantage of the pandemic, because despite the challenges, our work never stops, and we will continue to arrest, deport, and blacklist any alien who dares to disobey our laws,” he warned. AAC

Palace asks all sectors to unite, help gov’t end COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has urged all sectors in the country to unite and help in government efforts to combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the appeal as he cited measures implemented by the government to slow down the virus transmission and shrugged off criticism over the Duterte administration’s handling of the public health crisis.

In a statement, Roque said the government has intensified testing, tracing, isolation, treatment, and vaccination efforts to address the COVID-19 spike.

Citing global data, the Palace official said that the Philippines ranks third after India and China in terms of tests per million population, while in terms of total tests conducted, the Philippines is second after Indonesia among ASEAN countries, with more than 10, 421,636 tests conducted, as of April 5, 2021.

“We have a weekly average of 52,565 tests from April 4-10, and reaching a high of 63,839 tests conducted last April 8, 2021,” Roque added.

On tracing, Roque said the government has strengthened and improved the use of Staysafe.ph system by using automatic contact tracing through Smart Messaging System and the supplementation of around 27,672 contact tracers in the NCR Plus.

The NCR Plus refers to the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna. The area was previously placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 due to a surge in coronavirus infections and later reverted to modified ECQ until April 30.

Malacañang also said that the government built more facilities to augment the need for quarantine centers.

“On isolation, the Department of Public Works and Highways continue to build facilities and mobile hospitals to augment the need for quarantine facilities, including the activation of more than 1,700 beds, including the recently opened 110-bed capacity modular hospital in Quezon Institute and 300-bed capacity Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility in The Manila Times College of Subic, Inc.,” he said.

Efforts are also being made to accommodate and better serve patients with COVID-19, Roque said.

“On treatment, we have set up a One Hospital Command to better serve patients in need of hospitalization. Medical facilities have likewise given to increase its dedicated beds COVID-19 after the President directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to settle its obligation with hospitals while mainstreaming telemedicine in local government units,” he said.

“A total of 136 healthcare workers from the Visayas and Mindanao have been deployed to different facilities in Metro Manila,” he added.

Roque also pointed out that the Philippines is the third highest in vaccine rollout in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with 1.2 million doses administered.

“On vaccination, we have reached the one million mark in terms of total COVID-19 vaccines administered,” he said.

Roque reminded critics that the spike in COVID-19 cases is not only happening in the Philippines but in other countries as well.

“Critics and the detractors of the Administration have always something to say. It is worth mentioning that the increase in the number of cases is seen not only in the Philippines, but it is reflected worldwide as per World Health Organization Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that much more can be done to ramp up efforts to respond to the prevailing public health crisis.

“We call on all sectors to unite and help the government in putting an end to this dreadful pandemic,” he said.

Immigration Bureau nabs 3 South Korea’s fugitives wanted for online scams

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Three of South Korea’s most wanted fugitives were arrested by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) fugitive search unit (FSU) on Tuesday (April 13).

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the three aliens were arrested in operations conducted in Parañaque City and Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

They were identified as Jung Myunghun, 38, allegedly the syndicate’s top leader; Yu Daewoong, 38, and Kang Wesung, 36, also a leader of the group.

Morente said these fugitives are high-profile criminals long sought by Korean authorities and Interpol.

Based on criminal records, since July 2014, the suspects perpetrated online scams by uploading and advertising items on online second-hand markets, duping victims into purchasing products that turned out to be non-existent.

Their passports have also been revoked, making them undocumented aliens.

“Korean authorities uncovered thousands of cases—almost 2,600—wherein victims have been defrauded by the suspects. It is estimated that victims incurred a combined loss of more than 10 billion won, or close to US$9 million, from the syndicate’s racket,” according to the BI.

Morente said the suspects will be deported to face the cases against them in Korea.

“Their names shall likewise remain in our blacklist, which effectively bans their re-entry in the country,” the BI chief said. AAC

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