30 JUNE 2015




Pasay, Philippines – Nine passengers bound for Japan posing as students were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 25, 2015. 
The passengers whose names were withheld for their protection were traveling with a certain Annie Yamon Kotake, a Filipina holder of a Japan residence card and owner of K-Ann International School.
All passengers were in possession of Japan student visas processed by Kotake’s school, however, they disclosed that the real purpose of their travel was to work in Japan. During the interview conducted by Immigration Travel Control and Enforcement Unit, it was discovered that the passengers, who are all from Cavite, met through Kotake and studied Japanese language under her school in preparation for their deployment in Japan. They also shouldered all their travel expenses for the trip.
One of the intercepted passengers disclosed that Kotake had already recruited entertainers under the same scheme.  
Immigration spokesperson Elaine Tan warned jobseekers against transacting with illegal recruiters. “Filipinos who wish to work abroad have to make sure that they have the necessary working documents from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Otherwise, instead of finding greener pastures abroad, they run the risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.”
The passengers, along with Kotake, were turned over to IACAT for further investigation.

29 JUNE 2015



Manila, Philippines---Bureau of Immigration (BI) released information on the travel records of Gerardo Limlingan and Eduviges Baloloy, following the statement aired by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that the two subjects are out of the country.
BI spokesperson Elaine Tan said that as of 29 June 2015, BI travel records show that a certain Eduviges Duenas Baloloy, with date of birth: 17 October 1950 is IN the country. His latest return to the country was on 6 September 2014. No record of departure was reflected thereafter.
Travel records of ‘Gerardo Limlingan’ are still unclear as there are numerous subjects under the same name. There are four ‘Gerardo Limlingan’s in the BI database, born in 1942, 1970, 1983, and 2012.
Of the four, those born in 1970 and 2012 are out of the country. Both left the country on 27 June 2015, with no record of subsequent arrival.
The ‘Gerardo Limlingan’ born in 1942 and 1983 are IN the country. Based on BI travel records, they arrived on 17 October 2003 and 15 June 2015, respectively. They did not leave the country thereafter.
Gerardo Limlingan and Eduviges Baloloy are subjects of a Senate investigation for their involvement in the overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II. They are said to be close aides of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also a subject of the same investigation.
25 JUNE 2015


MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued its rules on processing of requests on recall of exclusion and visa waiver last June 10, Wednesday.
This is a follow through on the correspondence by Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Wilfredo C. Santos informing that the Department of Foreign Affairs’ visa section will no longer accept visa waiver requests and thus, recommended that lodging of such requests be directed to BI.
“This new operations order intends to expedite all visa waiver and recall of exclusion processes,” said BI spokesperson Elaine Tan.
Under Operations Order No. SBM-2015-016, otherwise known as “Processing of Requests for Recall Exclusion of and/or Visa Waiver for Excluded Aliens”, all excluded foreign nationals desiring to be permitted to enter the Philippines shall submit the following documents to the Central Receiving Unit of the BI Main Office within 12 hours from receipt of the Exclusion Order:
1.      Letter request from the excluded alien and/or authorized representative, indicating name, birth date, passport details, flight/voyage number’ addressing the reason for exclusion and purpose of entry in the country;
2.    Photocopy of passport bio-page and Exclusion Order served. Photocopy of the Exclusion Order may be dispensed with for emergent reasons such a medical emergency, which must be indicated in the request; and
3.    Such other supporting documents as may be indicated in the request.
Meanwhile, requests for visa waivers shall also be lodged before the BI together with the request for the recall of exclusion.
Visa waivers may be issued to foreign nationals who have been excluded for failure to present an entry visa to the Philippines, based on the following considerations:
a.     Visa-required minors or infants accompanied by or returning to a Filipino parent;
b.    Visa-recruited foreign nationals related by blood or affinity to a Philippine citizen;
c.     Visa-required foreign nationals married to a Philippine citizen and qualified dependents below 18 years of age; and
d.     Other meritorious cases as may be considered.
The following fees shall be paid upon approval of the request:
a.     For Recall of Exclusion:
Application Fee - Php 2,000.00
Waiver of Exclusion Ground Fee - Php 1,000.00
Service Fee - Php 500.00
Legal Research Fee - Php 30.00
Express Lane Fee - Php 500.00
b.    For Visa Waiver:
Visa Application Fee - Current USD 100.00 equivalent rate
Legal Research Fee - Php 30.00
Express Lane Fee - Php 500.00
The Rules took effect last June 19, Friday.

28 JUNE 2015



Manila, Philippines--- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) explained the Guidelines on departure formalities and its implementation in the wake of the online complaine lodged by a certain Julie Ann Dela Cruz, with the facebook handle “Julianne Dee.”
Ms. Dela Cruz aired her disappointment over her recent experience with immigration officers when she attempted to depart on June 17, 2015 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. 
In her post dated June 18, she said that she was made to wait an hour and 30 minutes by the immigration officer who was designated to conduct the interview. She also stated that she was only interviewed until the last minute, when the aircraft was about to take off, adding that she failed to make the flight because the officer demanded that she present the birth certificate of her late grandfather.
“We’re sorry that Ms. Dela Cruz missed her flight, but we were only doing our job. We would like to take this opportunity to remind the traveling public to be at the airport at least three hours prior to their expected time of departure (ETD) to make sure that they complete all pre-departure requirements before boarding time. We would also wish to explain the Guidelines on departure formalities to our kababayans to clear any misunderstanding avoid future similar incidents,” said BI spokesperson Elaine Tan.
It appears that Dela Cruz was not arbitrarily withheld by the immigration officer. Instead, she was delayed by the long processing queue, and the immigration officers tried their best to accommodate her, taking the circumstances of other passengers in queue into consideration. “Her flight happened to be within the peak hours of flights so there were quite a number of passengers being processed,” explained Tan.
Dela Cruz was processed during the “peak hours” of secondary inspection, as most flights were considered “high risk” destinations for being jump-off points to other countries or with high incidents of trafficking. Based on the flight summary for June 17, 10 out of 12 flights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. were bound to high risk destinations, with a total of 1,873 passengers processed. 
BI records show that Dela Cruz was requested to defer her departure after a determination that she is a likely victim of human trafficking. One basis for this finding was her failure to establish her purpose and capacity to travel. Her employment in the Philippines was likewise not substantially established.The findings of the immigration officer states:
No substantial proof of local employment;
Invitation letter (scanned) not duly certified by Phil. Consulate in Singapore;
Failed to establish relationship with sponsor – allegedly aunt, with same common name “Dela Cruz”;
Can’t establish personal financial capacity to support travel as tourist in Singapore;
1. Proof of relationship to sponsor – Orig. NSO issued marriage cert. of Ma. Concepcion A. Dela Cruz and marriage cert. of pax father.
“Our immigration officers assessed the totality of Ms. Dela Cruz’s circumstances and under the Guidelines on departure formalities, she was required to present proof of her relationship with her sponsor, whom she claimed to be the first cousin of her father. The requirement slip was provided to Ms. Dela Cruz, which she formally received,” stated Tan.
Dela Cruz was never required to present the birth certificate of her grandfather. It may further be pointed out that only relatives up to the fourth civil degree may be allowed to sponsor, with a corresponding affidavit of support authenticated by the Philippine consulate. However, based on the assessment, she was allowed to travel despite her sponsor being her fifth degree relative. 
“Our immigration officers actually want to allow everyone to travel. However, with the growing number of trafficking victims that they encounter, and with the previous information on the schemes that traffickers do to get through our borders, our officers are mindful of their duties to protect our countrymen,” Tan appealed.
The Guidelines on departure formalities was formulated by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in 2011. The BI merely implements the guidelines.
BI records further reveal that Dela Cruz attempted to travel again on June 19, but was again requested to defer her departure for failure to present the documents required from the previous assessment. 

24 JUNE 2015



Immigration spokesperson Elaine Tan assured that all top officials of the Bureau of Immigration are still in office, following a report that one official has been fired.
"Reports are not true. All commissioners and the executive director are still in office," said Tan.
Contrary to rumors, deputy executive secretary Eric Dimaculangan still acts as the board secretary, in addition to his visa implementation functions. Dimaculangan has been acting executive director since he was appointed as Deputy Executive Director by the President in 2011. 
"He still is the board secretary. Recently, Commissioner Mison designated lawyer Vicente Uncad as assistant board secretary to share the responsibility in handling deportation cases," added Tan.
The BI's board secretary acts as the board of commissioners' record-keeper and document custodian in matters requiring board action.
Asked about her opinion in the latest controversy involving the BI officers, Tan said she cannot comment on the matter, as the case has been elevated to the secretary of justice.
"All actions on the deportation case of Wang Bo and collateral incidents are up to the honorable secretary's determination and sound discretion," said Tan.
Pressed on her opinion on the issue, Tan said that she does not have information on the fate of the officers involved. "I cannot say, honestly. We cannot speculate on the outcome of the investigation, but based on what has happened in the past, either one, two or all commissioners may be compelled to go on leave. It is up to the secretary or the president to decide," explained Tan.
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