30 JUNE 2015
30 JUNE 2015
29 JUNE 2015
28 JUNE 2015
BI DENIES ALLEGATIONS AIRED OVER FACEBOOKManila, 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;Requirement: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
TOP OFFICIALS STILL IN POST -BI
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.