Stricter visa rules being enforced, assures Marcos

MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.PCO photo

THE Philippine government will continue to enforce fair and stricter visa rules to foreigners in the country, said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

Marcos said in a media interview following the distribution of Presidential Assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and families in Cagayan De Oro City that there are “no special rules” for visas, but there a stricter enforcement in visa applications has been implemented.

“Walang special na rules para sa kahit na kanino. Pantay-pantay lang lahat pero gagandahan namin ang enforcement doon sa examination sa mga nag-a-apply ng visa o doon sa mga nagco-convert sa tourist visa na student visa, at ‘yung mga bumibili ng lupa dahil [nagpapanggap] sila na Pilipino sila,” he said.

(There are no special rules for anyone. Everyone is equal but we will improve the enforcement in the examination of those who apply for visas or those who convert from tourist visas to student visas, and those who buy land because they pretend to be Filipinos.)

Marcos’ statement came amid reports that some foreigners are abusing the visa privileges to the extent of compromising national security. This abuse may often result in falsifying documents, scamming and human trafficking, among others.

“Ang problema lang dahil maliwanag na maliwanag, lumalabas sa mga report na mayroon nang-aabuso nito, kaya babantayan natin ito (The only problem is it appears in the reports that there are people abusing it, so we'll keep an eye on it). So, what we will do is to enforce more strictly,” President Marcos pointed out.

“Kaya titiyakin natin na kung mayroon talagang papasok ay tiyakin natin na talagang tama naman sila at tsaka ‘wag silang nagpapanggap. Basta nakapasok na sila, magpapanggap sila na Pilipino sila, maligawanag na hindi,” he said.

(So we'll make sure that if someone really comes in, we'll make sure that they're really right and that they don't pretend. As soon as they have entered, they will pretend that they are Filipinos, although it’s clear that they are not.)

Asked to comment on the controversy surrounding Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo, Marcos said it is still under investigation.

Senator Risa Hontiveros questioned on May 8 the real identity of Guo, as she sounded the alarm over the possibility that Guo is a Chinese “asset.”

A document presented by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian during the hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality on the raided Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) in Bamban, showed that Guo, then a private citizen, represented Hong Sheng Gaming Technology Inc. when it applied for a license to operate at the municipality of Bamban in September 2020.

Guo, however, denied serving as protector of Pogos, or her involvement in their operations.

But she has no official records to prove her nationality as a Filipino, said Hontiveros.

The senator said Guo only registered her live birth with the Philippine Statistics Authority when she was already 17 years old. She also does not have a hospital record of birth and even school records as she claimed she was home schooled.

Guo said she grew up in a well-off family whose father is a businessman.

Hontiveros said not a single resident of Bamban knew Guo before she ran for office in the 2022 elections.

Marcos assured Thursday, May 16, that concerned government agencies and the Senate are working together to bring light on the issue.

“Kaya’t ‘yun ang babantayan natin. Na hindi na mangyari uli ‘yan. Mabawasan ‘yung mga incidence na magpasok ng kung sino man. Not necessarily isang bansa lamang ng kung sino mang foreign national. Kung nagpapanggap nga na Pilipino ay talagang tingnan natin nang mabuti,” the chief executive said.

(So that's what we will watch. That it won't happen again. Reduce the incidences of anyone entering the country. Not necessarily just a country, but all foreign nationals. If he is pretending to be a Filipino, let's take a good look.)

Marcos also warned of arresting anyone involved in human trafficking and scamming as authorities are closely monitoring cases.

“Yung mga nakikita nating scammer, ‘mga human trafficking, ‘yun ang binabantayan namin. Kahit naman sino basta’t ginagawa nila ‘yan, huhulihin natin,” he said.

(The scammers and human traffickers, those are the ones we watch over. No matter who they are, as long as they do that, we will arrest them.) (LMY/With PR/SunStar Philippines)


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