Foreigners’ biometrics required to enter PH

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


FOREIGNERS, who want to stay in the Philippines, whether as tourists or immigrants, will now be required of their biometrics.

Under the Comprehensive Alien Mapping Program or the Alien Registration Project created by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), interested immigrants and tourists, and registered aliens in the country will be required of their biometrics or fingerprints to monitor them easily.

“This is to update the existing records we have in BI [as for the registered foreign nationals in the country] and for an easy tracking and monitoring of them,” BI-Northern Mindanao alien control officer Florentino Diputado said Tuesday.

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Aside from the biometrics, a unique identification number will be assigned to each registrant.

“Each foreign national has its own identification number, walang kaparehas (no duplicate),” Diputado said.

“With it, if some foreign nationals in the country do not have biometrics and have no plans of registering themselves, they will be declared illegal and subjected to deportation,” Diputado said.

According to Diputado, as of 2014, five Chinese nationals were deported, two were expelled from the country for illegal possession of firearms and three for illegal mining; and one American, Korean and Australian for unsupported documents.

“BI has encountered many cases where foreign nationals got deported from the country. Mostly, because they were sex offenders, drug dealers, blacklists, and who had committed cybercrimes, illegal trafficking of children and women, illegal mining, overstaying and insufficient documents,” he said.

As of 2014, there are 7,800 tourists who extended their stay in northern Mindanao, while 1,000 are visa holders (permanent residents, student visas and working visas).

Americans registered the highest in the region at 206, tallied from January to June of this year, while Koreans topped in statistics as tourists.

Although, he admitted that once the implementation would begin, the gathering of all new registrants, processing their documents, and updating the existing records, will be sluggish.

“It will be definitely slow. But at least, our records will now remain permanent, safer and more accurate too,” he said.

The implementation will start at the end of the year in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations integration in 2015.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 20, 2014.

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