More than 1,500 foreigners have been barred from entering the Philippines as “undesirable aliens” so far this year.
The Bureau of Immigration said today (Wednesday, May 16) that the largest contingent were Chinese, with 583 arrivals turned away.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that a total of 1,521 foreigners were barred from January to April, which is lower than the 1,700 who were turned away in the same period last year.
Also included in the list are Indians, 123; Koreans, 103; Americans, 72 and Nigerians, 36.
Morente said the bulk of the “aliens” were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport while others who were turned away in the airports of Mactan, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo and Davao.
The exclusion of foreigners is part of the agency’s much-trumpeted efforts to thwart the entry of “undesirable aliens” into the country.
In a statement today, Morente said: “We were able to stop these unwanted aliens from entering our country due to the continued vigilance of immigration officers manning our ports of entry. They have been very zealous in performing their jobs as gatekeepers of our country.”
He added that most of foreigners were denied entry after they were identified as likely to become “public charges” — that is, arriving without the means to support themselves.
Other arrivals were turned away after immigration officers deemed their presence in the country to be “inimical to the national interest” or a “threat to public health and safety”.
BI port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas said that some who were denied entry were on the bureau’s blacklist of “undesirable aliens”. These include fugitives, suspected terrorists and convicted sex offenders.
“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,” he added.
He also attributed the slight drop in number of excluded “aliens” to the employment of Chinese-speaking interpreters who helped remove the language barrier. In the past this caused difficulty for staff trying to interview passengers.
In February, we reported that dozens of arrivals had been turned away simply for “being rude” to immigration staff.