Probe into ‘irregularities’ in issuance of retiree visas sought

MANILA. House of Representatives Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Representative Erwin Tulfo.
MANILA. House of Representatives Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Representative Erwin Tulfo.Photo from Erwin Tulfo's Facebook account

HOUSE of Representatives Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Representative Erwin Tulfo has filed a resolution seeking the conduct of a probe into the alleged irregularities in the issuance of the country’s special visa programs.

Tulfo said he filed House Resolution 1771 after receiving reports that foreign nationals, mostly Chinese, were either given Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) or Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV), enabling them to stay in the country and eventually work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogos).

In a press conference, Tulfo said that based on the data provided by the Bureau of Immigration, out of the 78,000 foreign nationals who were issued with retiree visas, 30,000 are Chinese.

He said those who were issued with retiree visas were aged 35 to 50.

“What’s confusing is that they should not yet be retired, but they are given visas, because the ages (of the applicants) are 35 up to 50…The same thing happens with investors’ visas, some applicants do not have millions of investments but they have this visa, but they are just employees of Pogos. How the hell did that happen?” he said.

“[House Speaker Martin Romualdez] gave us instructions to look into this. Imagine, a retiree is at least 50, 60 plus. But 35, 40? You are at the peak of your strength. Why will you retire,” Tulfo added.

Tulfo said among those who are expected to shed light on the matter were the Philippine Retirement Association, Board of Investments, and even the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

He said the probe also seeks to discuss the current statistics and the processes of delayed registration of births, especially for those who have a history of or are currently running for or holding public office, to ensure the authenticity of personal records and to prevent deception of the general public.

He said they will also summon suspended Bamban Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo, who is currently under fire over questions on her nationality and her possible links to illegal Pogo.

Guo only registered her birth when she was 17 years old.

Philippine authorities discovered hundreds of Chinese nationals in the country following a series of raids conducted against illegal Pogos mostly in Luzon and Metro Manila. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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