corruptionReforming the Bureau of Immigration:
The doorway of corruption…

In this season of Christmas, ground zero for many Filipinos are our airports with many balikbayans and overseas Filipino workers coming from all over the world. Amid complaints of the state of our airports, one good thing has definitely happened—reforms at the Bureau of Immigration have worked.

In his State of the Nation Address in 2013, President Aquino castigated the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for its alleged corruption and for failing to “improve their watch” over ports.  Surely, many would agree with the President’s assessment. Our airports and ports are the gateways to the nation and it would not bode well for foreigners who want to enter the country for pleasure or business if they are greeted by chaotic operations, impertinent and dishonest immigration personnel, and topsy-turvy immigration procedures even before they could see the touted beauty of the Philippines. When the country is doing its utmost best to woo foreign tourists and welcoming home thousands of Filipino migrant workers with their enormous amounts of remittances, the Bureau of Immigration remains at the forefront of economic development. They are the face of the country, sort of, being the initial official presence that the visiting foreigners and home coming OFWs will have to face and deal with.

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My Testimony:

I never really had trouble when it came to entering the Philippines. It was on prolonging my stay or leaving the country, before a year way finished, that I have encountered corruption.

When it came towards leaving, before a year was accomplished, i was charged as if I stayed for a full year which was a tax in a form of an exit fee which you will never see happen when you stay for 22 days or even 2 months. My first extension stamp was because I was staying for more than the 21 days and I never encountered an exit fee.

When it comes to extending your stay, I would always get the run around and told to “follow the system” which never has been defined so I would know what it was I was being required to follow. The officer just sits there in their chair as if you are not even there and the only time they will help you is when you give them money as if their only obligation is to collect money or tell you how much you have to pay this time around.

I have never seen such laziness as I have seen in an immigration office when it comes to prolonging your stay…they ignore their own RA laws under 6713 and 6770 Sections 24.

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