A record number of foreigners were deported from the Philippines last year, the Bureau of Immigration has announced.
More than 1,500 foreigners were thrown out of the country for violating Philippine immigration laws, nearly four times more than the number sent home in 2016, the BI said today (Monday, January 15).
The sharp increase is largely due to the mass deportation of Chinese nationals involved in illegal gambling.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said 1,508 foreigners were deported in 2017 for committing acts “inimical to the national interest and which posed a risk to public safety”, up from only about 400 in 2016.
As we reported last week, 232 of the total deported were wanted for serious crimes in their home countries. This too was a new high — a 71 per cent increase on the previous year’s total of 135 foreign criminals.
Immigration offences of the other deportees included overstaying, working without permit, being undocumented and “undesirability”.
Chinese nationals topped the list of deportees with 1,248 sent home, followed by 115 South Koreans, 33 Indians, 29 Americans, 13 Vietnamese and 11 Japanese.
The bulk of the Chinese deportees were arrested in November, 2016, at the Fontana Hotel in Clark, Pampanga, for allegedly engaging in illegal online gaming operations.
Morente said this raid was the biggest single mass arrest of foreigners in the bureau’s history. About 1,300 workers were rounded up by joint operatives of the BI and police.
Lawyer Arvin Santos, BI legal division chief, also disclosed that the bureau had conducted two “mass deportations” last year — a first for the BI.
The first batch of 46 Chinese nationals was flown to Xiamen on December 1, while the second batch of 47 Koreans was deported on December 14.
Last week, the BI also announced that it was stopping a record number of foreign criminals from entering the country in the first place.
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