The present Commissioner of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration is Jaime Morente. Commissioner Morente formerly handled various positions in the Philippine National Police and in the Philippine Constabulary. He’s a tough guy with a stern warning for expatriates which brings about today’s post: “BI Commissioner Warns Foreigners.”
President Duterte’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) is coming up on July 22. 35,000 protesters are set to line the streets during the President’s address.
Here’s a word of advice: you better not be among the protesters if you’re a foreigner.
According to Morente, being a visitor of the country does not give foreigners the political rights and privileges of a Filipino.
Foreigners are prohibited by law to engage in any political activity in the country.
BI Commissioner Warns Foreigners
“Joining political demonstrations is an utter display of disrespect to the country’s authorities, and is equivalent to meddling in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation,” said Morente. “We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters.”
Those who got “the boot”….
In 2013, Dutch citizen Thomas van Beersum was deported after being photographed joining a protest and taunting a crying policeman,
Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Miller was also deported for joining an anti-SONA demonstration.
In 2018, left-wing agitator Australian nun Patricia Fox was denied renewal of her visa for violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan political activities,
In the same year, Zimbabwean Tawanda Chandiwana, American Adam Thomas Shaw, and Malawian Miracle Osman were ordered to leave for involvement in leftist activities.
“Follow our laws,” said Morente. “It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.
BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 prohibits foreigners from engaging in political activities while in the country.
Morente clarified that while it is within the BI’s policy to welcome foreign visitors, the BI is also duty-bound to implement the law by deporting foreign protesters.
Said order prohibits aliens from “joining, supporting, contributing, or involving themselves in whatever manner in any rally, assembly, or gathering.”
“Foreigners have no business joining such activities as it is a clear violation of their conditions of stay,” he added.
Morente then warned that alien protesters can be deported if found committing acts that constitute overthrowing the government, unlawful destruction of property, and violation of the conditions of their stay.
Source: Press Release Bureau of Immigration website