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