At the BI-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
WHILE the foreign affairs office extend travel documents to hundreds of our citizens daily so they can travel abroad and seek employment in other countries, its counterpart in another area of Mandaue City settles down to take tab and extend accreditation to those who are not citizens but would like to come and stay for a while either to do business here or stay temporarily as husbands or wives of native spouses.
In any case, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Mandaue City looks at the moment as one of the top earners in terms of tax payments for the privilege of registering and staying here either temporarily or permanently as residents.
Some years back, the BI was just a minor office serving the few aliens that came to the Philippines. But with thousands of Filipinos who left for foreign employment in the intervening decade, the work of the bureau escalated.
Some years back, the bureau could barely get an income of P800 thousand a day. There were about forty members of his staff to do the task. But the bureau, it seems, has decided to cut the number down to a couple of dozens, and this at a time when the number of foreign nationals who wanted to register or to stay in the country had increased tremendously.
At the moment, the BI easily makes P1 million a day from the payment of the foreigners who want to stay for sometime in the Philippines. Recently though, the amount increased to P2 million a day with the influx of returning married Filipinos and foreign spouses.
In fact, so said the BI official in charge of alien control here, they could have long hit a targeted P3 million a day income, but for the fact that they are now greatly undermanned.
When I was at the BI office in Mandaue City the other day to accompany my youngest sister, Lorna, to renew her own and her Swedish husband’s alien visa, the BI office was crawling with foreigners, a number of whom were not allowed in for not respecting the regulation on attire (long pants and shirt).
The alien control official, who is a scion of a prestigious family in Cebu, said he practically has to sign hundreds of papers a day. In fact, he could hardly leave his seat.
I watched Casimiro Madarang III, as approving official and hearing officer of alien applicants, weigh the requests and make careful decisions all by his lonesome. He spends most of his day signing papers, making millions of pesos a day for his government, and facing people of varying faces and colors.
But truth to tell, isn’t it a satisfying life, too, to make a million or more day for your government just by “expending” the ink from a P50 or P100 ball pen? It is quite a life of significance, albeit possibly boring sometimes, but it is a meaningful one to spend in a day.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2013.