BI Alien Registration Program (ARP): Do YOU Have to Register?

The Alien Registration Program (ARP) from the BI,  Bureau of Immigration, a new procedure issued from the high command, Commissioner Mison, was introduced back in September. It begs the question: “Do YOU have to register?”  Of course, if you’re an illegal alien in the Philippines, much like illegals back in the States who are now called “undocumented immigrants” and have been given amnesty by President Obama, you probably don’t give a damn.  You can skip this post.

But for those expats that are here legally, you might want to take note of this new policy from the Bureau of Immigration. Is this another scheme to collect more money from expats in the Philippines.  Or is it another way to spy on foreigners living in the Philippines?

The Philippine government claims the dual purpose of the Alien Registration Program is to  to update its database and to give foreigners better assistance on visa-related problems. 

“Registered aliens under this program may be primary beneficiaries of the future social integration and legalization programs of the government,” Mison said.

Really? The new program will give foreigners better assistance on visa-related problems.? Let’s suspend reality for a moment and assume the Commish has our best interests at heart.

First, let’s take a look at the bulletin that was posted on the official Philippine Bureau of Immigration website:

Bureau of Immigration Alien Registration Project

Let’s take a closer look at that exemption area.

arp exemption
OK, I have a valid ACR I-Card, as many of many readers do, that was issued to me the same time I received my 13(a) Permanent Resident Visa. So, according to the BI announcement regarding the APR I don’t have to enroll in this new program, right?

So why did the Iloilo Bureau of Immigration, my local office, deem it necessary to request a new photograph from me last year, when I dutifully went for my Annual Report as a Foreigner and fingerprint me again? (I was fingerprinted years ago when I received my 13a in Manila) And on top of that I had to fill out a four-page asinine form. It used to take me less than 15 minutes for me to take my annual report, this year it took almost two hours (I had to also go out of the office for the new photos which added to the time it took to process my visit.) The “new” ARP document is virtually the same form that I have already  filled out.

So now what? Will all of us that legally follow the immigration laws of the Philippines and make our annual report have to be fingerprinted again and fill out even more forms? Or did we automatically get registered in the  Alien Registration Project?

And what if you avail of the Balikbayan Privilege? Will you have to enroll in this new Alien Registration Program? I’ve seen online reports that suggest the BI might begin requiring foreigners using the Balikbayan to also now apply for an ACR-I Card.

Bureau of Immigration entrance in Iloilo

Further investigation by this reporter on this topic  revealed that Commissioner Mison believes that more than one million foreigners are staying in the Philippines and that only 200,000 are registered with the Bureau of Immigration. Mison based the estimate on illegal foreigners by using the following “logic,” basing the figure on the foreign national index in the world and the population of the Philippines, which is 100 million. Sounds like the new “Common Core” Math to me.

The Alien Registration Project (ARP) is a Department of Justice (DOJ) –Bureau of Immigration (BI)  joint based three phase initiative.

First Phase of the Project: the set-up and implementation of Biometric data-capturing devices, fingerprinting, etc.

Second Phase and Third Phase: implements the use of servers and data analyzing devices.

The ARP shall map all aliens within the country, the program identifies them, and determines the legality of their entry and status and establishes a tax source. 

Now we come down to the REAL NITTY GRITTY. Registering all foreigners will help establish, in the BI’s own words, a TAX SOURCE. It’s all about the money.

What’s the penalty if you don’t register? A fine of P200.00 per month with a maximum of P2.000 per year.

Future ACR-I Cards will be issued a system-generated SSRN, SPECIAL SECURITY REGISTRATION NUMBER,  via the ARP system.

So what do you think. Anyone else out there have any additional information regarding the ARP? I plan to ask about it when I do my Annual Report next month and will relate my findings at this time.

6 comments

    1. Well, Rease, the exemption does state that those with a valid ACR-I Card, except Tourist ACR’s, are exempt. However, if you research this online there is much confusion regarding the topic, as is usually the case with anything that comes from BI. One online expat from Iloilo remarked that he contacted our local Iloilo BI Office and they had no idea what this new APR was. I will go to the Iloilo BI in January and sort it out…hopefully.

  1. Well, have returned alive from BI lolol. I asked the guy at the desk who was our first stop in the 13a process. He stated that the ACR program is “voluntary” and that a 13a does not need to get one. Having said that, we all know that answers vary from place to place and person to person. I have found its always best to ask 3 folks and see if I can get a constant answer lolol. As a side note, I don’t know about you guys but I have learned to read eyes instead of listening to answers. Have you ever notice sometime when you ask a question, and the guy nods and says “yes sir” and it turns out to be wrong? I don’t know if its because they don’t REALLY understand the question, don’t know the answer and don’t want to seem stupid or are just plain intimidated and want to get rid of me. I have learned to look into their eyes and 98% of the time I can tell if the guys really knows his stuff…Its all a learning experience lololol.

    1. Thanks for that update, Scott H, it’s really appreciated. I had read online that the ARP was first initiated as a mandatory program and then very soon afterwards switched to voluntary. So the intelligence you gathered from the one employee jives with that info I saw online.

      Well, I have observed that very same behavior and one of the guys at our local BI in Iloilo never would look me in the eyes and gave me the nod. Never did trust him and it’s well I didn’t. I have heard that he was escorted from the Iloilo BI in handcuffs. He was accused of extorting extra fees from foreigners. Good point, Scott, and thanks for bringing your observations to our attention.

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