Sep 092013

Immigration personnel assigned to the country’s airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, will now be banned from using mobile phones while on duty.

Bureau of Immigration OIC Siegfred Mison said this move seeks to lessen the opportunities for chances of BI officials engaging in activities like human trafficking and human smuggling.

Mison, in a news release, cited recent incidents where BI officers were caught on surveillance cameras facilitating the entry of blacklisted aliens and exit of human trafficking victims and foreign fugitives.

“In most of these instances, the immigration officers were seen using their phones in talking with their cohorts and the passengers,” he said.

Under the new policy, BI employees assigned to airports will have to deposit their cell phones in pigeon-type lockers or with their supervisors for temporary custody.

The policy will apply to all immigration officers assigned to the airport’s arrival and departure counters, whose task is to conduct immigration formalities on thousands of international travelers.

Also banned from using cell phones while on duty are team leaders of the BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) and acting immigration officers and confidential agents at the Filipino counters.

Mison said emergency calls or texting may be allowed via phones officially used by the employees’ duty supervisors.

Meanwhile, Mison’s directivealso  prohibited immigration officers from merely pinning or tacking nameplates on their uniforms, saying these should be sewn or embroidered.

The directive also said that while official jackets may be worn while on duty, the employee’s nameplate must be properly pinned or tacked there.  — ELR, GMA News

Aug 312013
No sign yet of Napoles' brother trying to leave PHL — Immigration official

The brother of suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles may still be in the country as there is no sign he tried to flee via the country’s international airports, immigration official said. Bureau of Immigration Ninoy Aquino International Airport intelligence division chief Wilson Soluren said they had not monitored any attempt by Reynald Lim to leave via the airports, state-run Philippines News Agency reported. “So far wala pa kaming monitored attempt niya to exit the country ever since na nag-issue ng warrant of arrest laban sa kanila (So far we have not monitored any attempt by him to exit the country since a warrant was issued for his arrest),” Soluren said. “We believe Mr. Lim is still in the country and hopefully sumuko na rin siya (he will surrender) just like what her sister did,” he added. He said that if Lim is seen at the airports, the BI will arrest him and turn him over to the police or the National Bureau of Investigation. Earlier this month, the Makati City regional trial court issued an arrest warrant against Napoles and Lim for serious illegal detention. Napoles surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang last Wednesday and was initially brought to Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame. She was then brought to the Makati City Jail, even as the Makati court approved her transfer to Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna province. Napoles allegedly set up ghost non-government organizations that received funds from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund. Read More …

Jul 152013
BI denies illegally holding American in overstaying case

By Jocelyn R. UyPhilippine Daily Inquirer 5:18 am | Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr.: Allegation baseless MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday denied arbitrarily detaining an American it had arrested three years ago for overstaying his visa. In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. belied the claim of Walter Francis Groves that the bureau had been violating his rights since his arrest on March 23, 2010. David said the BI could not allow Groves’ deportation pending the final resolution of his estafa case in the Makati City regional trial court. While Grove’s case had been “provisionally dismissed,” David said it could still be revived should the parties to the case fail to comply with the compromise agreement reached at the proceedings. David also cited the contention of prosecutor Roberto Lao—who was assigned to the BI by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima—that under the rules the bureau had to wait two years from the date of the provisional dismissal of the case before Groves could be deported to the United States. “But if the court would issue a clearance that there was no more pending case against him, we would waste no time and deport him immediately aboard the first available flight to the US,” David said. He also said he could not approve a bail petition filed by Grove because the deportation order against him was final. Earlier, Grove filed a complaint against David in the Office of the President, charging that he Read More …

Jun 182013
BI to launch 6-month tourist visa next week

By Jocelyn R. UyPhilippine Daily Inquirer 6:51 am | Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—Foreign visitors who want to extend their vacation in the Philippines may now do so without the usual hassles. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Tuesday that foreigners who would like to stay longer in the country, could avail of a six-month, long-stay tourist visa from the agency. The program is set to be formally launched next week, according to the BI. In a statement, Immigration Commissioner also announced that the bureau would introduce the new visa sticker to replace the wet stamp it was using to implement extensions of stay on the passports of foreign tourists. The Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE) project was launched to draw more international travelers into the country by giving them the privilege to prolong their stay in the country without the need to frequently visit the BI office to process their documents. Currently, the bureau allows foreign tourists a maximum stay of two months in the country each time they apply for visa extensions. “Through this long-stay visa, we [also] expect lesser crowding in our offices due to the decreased volume of visa extension applicants,” stated David. On the other hand, the new visa sticker will help the bureau prevent the proliferation of fake visa extension stamps, which have victimized many foreigners, added the BI chief, who noted that the new sticker would have security and tracking features that Read More …

Jun 132013
BI: Chinese poachers won’t be deported yet

By Jocelyn R. UyPhilippine Daily Inquirer 2:22 am | Friday, June 14th, 2013 This undated handout photo received on April 10, 2013, and released by the Philippine coast Guard (PCG) shows coast guard personnel inspecting the Chinese fishing vessel which ran aground off Tubbataha reef in Palawan island, western Philippines. The 12 Chinese nationals arrested for the alleged poaching in April will not be deported until after their case has been terminated or they have served their sentence, the Bureau of Immigration said Wednesday, June 12, 2013. AFP FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—The 12 Chinese nationals arrested for alleged poaching at Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in April will not be deported until after their case has been terminated or they have served their sentence, according to the Bureau of Immigration. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, spokesperson for the immigration bureau, said on Wednesday that a deportation order had been issued for the 12 Chinese, who were “undocumented,” but they must “remain detained” until the order could be implemented. Mangrobang said the suspected poachers would be turned over to the immigration bureau only if they would be released on bail. Marine park rangers arrested the 12 Chinese when their vessel ran aground on an atoll at Tubbataha in early April. A search of the vessel yielded a large cargo of frozen pangolin meat, believed bound for China’s exotic-food market. The pangolin, or anteater, is an endangered species. It is protected by Philippine and international laws. The authorities seized the pangolin meat, and the Tubbataha Read More …

Jun 132013
BI wants to take custody of Chinese pangolin poachers if they post bail

The 12 suspected Chinese poachers whose vessel ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in April should be placed in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration if the Palawan court handling the case allows them to post bail, a bureau official said Thursday.   According to BI spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, the bureau has already informed the Palawan court in a letter dated June 6 that if the 12 individuals are released, they should be turned over to Immigration authorities.   “In the event the court release the 12 poachers on bail, the BI has grounds to keep them in detention because they are undocumented aliens and they did not pass through the Immigration inspection when they entered,” she said. Mangrobang added that the BI, which has already issued a deportation order against the 12, would hold them while the case is being resolved. “It is one thing that they have a deportation order and another if the deportation order would be implemented,” she said. The 12 have been charged with poaching, illegal possession of endangered wildlife and attempted bribery of park officials. The Philippine Coast Guard discovered hundreds of frozen pangolins, individually wrapped in plastic and hidden in sacks, in the cargo hold of the suspected poachers’ vessel as it sat grounded on the reef. Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are a threatened species and are covered by the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act of the Philippines. In China, the pangolin’s meat and scales are are believed to have medicinal properties: the scales Read More …

Apr 292013
Japanese national arrested for fake visa extension stamps on passport

By Tetch Torres-Tupas 6:51 pm | Monday, April 29th, 2013 Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–The Bureau of Immigration arrested Monday a Japanese national after he was caught with fake visa extension on his passport. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. identified the Japanese national as Hidenobu Yuzawa, 38. Yuzawa went to the bureau’s main office in Intramuros, Manila to have his stay extended. Yuzawa’s application for extension of stay was, however, rejected after personnel at the BI visa extension section discovered two fake visa extension stamps on his passport. He was then endorsed to the BI intelligence division, charged with immigration law violation at the legal division and committed to the BI detention center in Bicutan, Taguig. Yuzawa, meanwhile, explained that a travel agent helped him extend his visa. David said foreigners can avoid the scheme by personally extending their visas at the BI or by engaging travel agencies accredited by the bureau.  The list of the agencies can be viewed at According to lawyer Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief, Yuzawa identified a tour operator at the Robinson’s Mall in Dasmariñas, Cavite as responsible for faking his visa extensions.

Mar 032013
BI orders deportation of American pedophile

By Tetch 1:19 pm | Monday, March 4th, 2013 MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration has ordered the deportation of a convicted American pedophile wanted in the US for failure to report his location and activities to federal authorities. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David said Earl Lynn Bagley, 60 who was arrested last February 4 at the Robinson’s Mall in Ermita, Manila will be deported for being an undesirable alien. David said Bagley is the subject of an arrest warrant issued last November by a US district court in Washington due to his failure to update his registration as a sex offender. Bagley’s passport was revoked by the State Department after he failed to update his registration as a sex offender in the US. In the Philippines, Immigration records showed that he did not extend his tourist visa since he last arrived in the country on April 17 last year. Meanwhile, Atty. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief, Bagley’s offense stemmed from his failure to update his registration as a sex offender Mangrobang explained that the registration is a system in the US designed to enable authorities to keep track of the residence and activities of sex offenders. All 50 US states have reportedly passed laws requiring sex offenders, especially child sex offenders, to periodically report their residence upon leaving prison or after being convicted of their crime. Various websites on sex offenders revealed that on Oct. 29, 2004 a Seattle court sentenced Bagley to 51 months custody, including Read More …

Feb 202013
PH immigration awaits travel papers for 9 Myanmar crew

By Tetch Torres 9:11 am | Thursday, February 21st, 2013 Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines — Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David on Thursday said they were waiting for travel documents from the Myanmar embassy for the repatriation of the nine  surviving crewmen of a Myanmar ship that sunk last week off the coast of Bolinao , Pangasinan. David said the nine crewmen were turned over by the BI to the custody of the Myanmar embassy last Monday. They were identified as Kyi Win, Khin Maung Win, Aung Kyaw Khine, Aung Thu Nyein, Win Saw, Win Min Thein, Aung San Win, Thant Zin Moe, and Cho Aye. Theodore Pascual, BI bay service section acting chief, disclosed that until last Monday the Myanmar nationals have been under the custody of immigration officials in Region 1 since the mishap occurred last February 16. Pascual said the crewmen were initially under the custody of the BI field office in Dagupan before they were turned over to the BI office in San Fernando City , La Union. “They were eventually turned over to the Myanmar embassy which is now processing their travel documents which are required to facilitate their repatriation,” Pascual explained. A crew member died while 14 others went missing when the foreigners’ vessel sank Saturday night. The Philippine Coast Guard said the MV Arita Bauxite encountered engine trouble and sank 17 nautical miles (31 km) northwest of Cape Bolinao at about 11:30 p.m. The nine survivors were reportedly Read More …