THE Indonesian Consulate in Davao City has recorded almost 3,000 persons of Indonesian descent based in Southern Mindanao whose close relatives are qualified to apply for a special non-immigrant visa here in Davao City.
On April 11, 2019, the Indonesian Consulate, together with the representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), catered to different Indonesian nationals who trooped to the House of Indonesia with their spouses, children, and parents to apply for a special non-immigrant visa.
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a Department Circular (DC) last June 2018 to help the persons with Indonesian descent regarding their stay permits or special non-immigrant visa, which entitle them to stay here in the Philippines for five years extendable. They are also able to enroll to school as well as they are permitted to work,” said Immigration Affairs Consul Galih Kartika Perdhana.
To specify, he said there are about 2,619 persons with Indonesian descent who they are expecting to enlist their close relatives for the said visa. This number covers the areas of Davao Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Sur, and Sarangani Province.
Since the release of the DC last year, the Indonesian Consulate now has only two months to enlist the close families of the registered Indonesian nationals.
“During the Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) agenda between the government of Indonesia and the government of the Philippines, we have agreed that we would like to solve the issues on the presence of persons with Indonesian descents that do not have legal status and clear status while they stay here in the Philippines especially Southern Philippines,” Perdhana added.
The initial list of the registered Indonesian nationals had been readied and they had been contacted to come with their close families for the visa. However, as the others may still not be available on the first registration, the Indonesia Consulate conducted the two-day registration last April 11 to 12, 2019 at the House of Indonesia. As the mandated one year of the DC is coming to a close, Perdhana said they also plan to mount a registration in General Santos City next month as most of the Indonesian nationals recorded in Southern Mindanao are from Balut Island in Sarangani.
For her part, acting Consul General Endah Yuliarti Farry said they are grateful to the Philippine government and the UNHCR for facilitating the activity they deemed to be the best and appropriate solution for the dilemma at hand.
“Most of the registered Indonesian nationals do not have legal documents so after they receive their legal documents (special non-immigrant visa), we hope that they could get the benefit and easy access to gain the education and work so that they could improve their lives,” said Farry.
Perdhana added they continue to warn their fellow Indonesian especially those who cross the borders by the sea to do it in a legal way.
“We tell them the borders are there and it’s never the same as how their ancestors used to do it before when they travel by sea. They should acknowledge the borders of the Philippines now,” he said.
Based on data provided by the Department of Labor and Employment Davao Region, there is only one Indonesian with Alien Employment Permit in the region from January to December 2018.