|308 foreigners barred at NAIA|
24 July 2008
More than 300 foreigners were barred from entering the country during the first six months of the year as a result of the heightened vigilance and stricter screening of passengers by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Marcelino Libanan said a total of 308 foreigners were excluded from January to June as the bureau continued to tighten its screening and monitoring of foreigners arriving at the country’s premiere port of entry. He said the BI could not simply lower its guard with the volume of foreigner arrivals at the NAIA reaching more than 3 million during the six-month period, up by seven percent over the 2.8 million who came in the same period last year.
Libanan said most of the foreign visitors who were turned back were caught using spurious travel documents, adding that most of passengers were victims of syndicates using Manila as transit point for their human trafficking operations.
“I have already directed that they be placed in our blacklist so that they will not be able to return to our country in the future,” Libanan said, even as he commended immigration officers at the NAIA for a job well done.
The BI chief stressed that it is now difficult for illegal foreigners to slip through the NAIA unmolested as a result of the continous trainining of immigration officers who are now more adept in detecting fraudulent travel documents.
He said the task of screening and profiling foreigners at the NAIA is not only performed by BI personnel at the counters but also by members of the migration compliance and monitoring group (MCMG), a team which double checks the documents of passengers with suspicious profiles.
Libanan also said that a BI anti-fraud unit is in place at the NAIA whose members are capable and trained in the art of detecting bogus and tampered passports and visas.
Statistics from the NAIA immigration office showed that 120 of the excluded passengers were not properly documented while 97 others were profiled as likely to become public charges.
“A foreigner is deemed a public charge if he could not explain his purpose in coming to the country and if he is unable to show proof of his capacity to support his stay in the Philippines,” said NAIA-BI operations chief Ferdinand Sampol.
Also included in the list are 62 blacklisted aliens who were foiled in their attempt to slip back into the country.
There were also 16 passengers who have no entry visas; 10 had no return tickets; and three who have been previously turned back at the airport.
A breakdown of their nationality showed that 45 South Koreans and 43 Chinese topped the list, followed by 22 Japanese, 22 Americans, 21 Taiwanese, 20 Nigerians, 18 Ghanians, 16 Indians, and 12 Liberians.