Review Tourists Visa Extension Order, RP Immigration Told

August 11, 2007 at 8:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 11 Aug) – Senator Mar Roxas called on the Bureau of Immigration to review a recent order that allows foreigners to extend their temporary visitors visas up to 16 months, saying this ran counter to the government’s crackdown on terrorism.

“While we are all in favor of courting tourists to visit our country, we must be mindful that too much leniency is also not good for our national security,” Roxas said in a statement sent Saturday to the Mindanao Examiner.

Roxas said that immigration policies should also be attuned to global realities and local concerns such as the campaign against terror and transnational crimes.

He noted efforts around the world to shore up defenses against terrorists and transnational criminal syndicates through immigration reforms and better security and intelligence efforts.

He said it is best to modernize and strengthen the Bureau of Immigration and other frontline agencies that deal with tourists and foreign investors before government loosens its grip on tourist arrivals.

Roxas also pointed out the irony in granting foreigners unhampered and therefore unaccountable freedom to stay in the country for more than a year while government wields the Human Security Act like a sword of Damocles on its people.

“I recall that the Bureau of Immigration made it clear that countless foreign nationals were overstaying. Should we now, as a matter of policy, legitimize these overstaying foreigners, some of who have even managed to set up small businesses in the countryside, by declaring them almost as perpetual tourists?”

But Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, of the Bureau of Immigration, said the extension of temporary visitors’ visas is intended to further promote tourism in the country.

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