IMMIGRATION officers at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport barred 187 unwanted foreigners from entering the country last year.
The 187 were among the 3,359 foreigners denied entry at the various ports of entry nationwide in 2023 for being either undesirable or not properly documented, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said in a statement.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the bulk of the excluded foreigners arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Some 1,603 undesirables arrived at NAIA 3, followed by 1,157 at Naia 1, 211 at NAIA 2 and 143 at the Clark International Airport.
Most of those refused entry were deemed undesirable for the likelihood of their becoming public charges if allowed entry.
A public charge is a foreigner whose presence poses a menace to society or a burden to the government from whom he could depend for subsistence or support while staying in the country, the BI said.
Among such undesirable aliens were 171 foreigners who were previously convicted of sex crimes, or were wanted for such cases; fugitives; foreigners who had been disrespectful to BI officers; as well as those who had already previously been blacklisted by the bureau.
The minority of excluded foreigners were those guilty of minor infractions like failing to present entry visas or return tickets.
To combat the rise of sexual predators, the BI launched the Project #ShieldKids Campaign at a ceremony in Pasay City Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, attended by Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking Head Undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty and Undersecretary Angelo Tapales of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The three-tiered effort involves institutionalizing a network of communication among government agencies involved in investigating and arresting pedophiles and traffickers, prioritizing cases against foreigners that might involve sex trafficking of children, and opening up the BI Commissioner’s helpline via Facebook.com/immigration.helpline.ph to encourage citizens to report potential cases of child exploitation and abuse involving foreigners.