With President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address looming, foreigners have been warned of arrest and deportation if they meddle in politics.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated the ban following previous incidents of foreign people being thrown out of the country for taking part in protests.
“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” he said today (Wednesday, July 17).
According to Morente, being a visitor of the country does not give foreigners the political rights and privileges of a Filipino. “Joining political demonstrations is an utter display of disrespect to the country’s authorities, and is equivalent to meddling in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation,” he said.
In 2018, for example, Australian nun Patricia Fox was denied renewal of her visa for allegedly participating in partisan political activities. She denied any involvement in politics.
“Follow our laws,” said Morente. “It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.
Specifically, it is BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 that prohibits foreigners from engaging in political activities in the country. Morente clarified that while it is within the BI’s policy to welcome foreign visitors, the BI is also duty-bound to implement the law by deporting foreign protesters.
The order prohibits aliens from “joining, supporting, contributing, or involving themselves in whatever manner in any rally, assembly, or gathering”.
“Foreigners have no business joining such activities as it is a clear violation of their conditions of stay,” he added.
Morente then warned that alien protesters can be deported if found committing acts that constitute overthrowing the government, unlawful destruction of property, and violation of the conditions of their stay.
“If found guilty, we will blacklist these foreigners, effectively barring them from re-entering the Philippines,” Morente said.
President Duterte will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 22.
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