Immigration chiefs have said that more than 3,500 foreign visitors to the Philippines were barred from entering the country in 2018.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente today (Monday, December 31), Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Operations chief Grifton Medina said 3,528 people of various nationalities were refused entry.
“These aliens were turned back after conduct of secondary inspection by our immigration officers,” he said. “They were properly assessed and thereafter were found to be unfit for admission into our country.
“We also turned away foreign passengers who did not have entry visas and those who failed to procure outbound tickets which is a basic requirement for foreign tourists.”
Nearly 3,000 of these were turned away at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, while the rest were barred at Mactan, Clark, Kalibo and Davao airports.
Commissioner Morente warned foreigners who have ulterior motives in coming to the Philippines to think twice as they “will not escape the watchful eyes of immigration officers in the ports of the entry”.
By far the largest cohort of arrivals refused entry were the Chinese, with 1,508 turned away. They were followed by 262 Indians, 151 Americans and 138 Koreans.
Why were they barred?
Among the barred foreigners were registered sex offenders, fugitives, suspected terrorists and people who had previously been deported and blacklisted from returning.
The BI also said their statistics showed that about three-quarters of excluded arrivals were seen as “persons without visible means of financial support and whose purpose in coming here are suspect”.
In February, we reported that dozens of arrivals had been already turned away simply for “being rude” to immigration staff. This number has, the BI says, mounted to the hundreds over the course of the year.
In May, we reported that 1,521 foreigners were barred from January to April, which was lower than the 1,700 turned away in the same period last year.
This was down further on the nearly 10,000 denied entry in 2016. Much of this reduction is attributed to the employment of Chinese speaking immigration staff.