By Jun Ramirez
Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports barred from entering the country more than 1,500 foreigners during the first four months of the year due to the rigorous efforts thwarting the entry of undesirables.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that the number of aliens refused entry from January to April totaled 1,521, which is slightly lower than the 1,700 who were turned away in the same period last year.
“We were able to stop these unwanted aliens from entering our country due to the continued vigilance of immigration officers manning our ports of entry,” the BI chief said.
Morente revealed that most of the excluded aliens were denied entry after they were identified as likely to become public charges.
In immigration parlance, a public charge is an alien who is likely to become dependent on government for subsistence due to his lack of capacity to support his stay in the country.
A foreigner may also be denied entry if based on the immigration officer’s assessment of his presence here is inimical to the national interest or a threat to public health and safety.
According to Marc Red Marinas, BI port operations division chief, those who were turned back also included aliens who are in the bureau’s blacklist of undesirable aliens such as fugitives, suspected terrorists, and convicted sex offenders.”
“We also turned away foreign passengers who did not have entry visas and those who failed to procure outbound tickets which is a basic requirement for foreign tourists,” Mariñas said.
He also attributed the slight drop in number of excluded aliens to the employment by the BI of Chinese-speaking interpreters which helped remove the language barrier that in the past posed a problem to BI personnel when interviewing passengers.
Statistics show that 583 Chinese nationals topped the list of the excluded aliens, followed by 123 Indians, 103 Koreans, 72 Americans, and 36 Nigerians.
While the bulk of the aliens were intercepted at the NAIA, there were also others who were turned away in the airports of Mactan, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo, and Davao.