Tourists no political rights in PH -- BI spokesperson

  • Written by Itchie G. Cabayan
  • Published in Metro
  • Read: 378

TOURISTS do not enjoy the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen, particularly the exercise of political rights, which are exclusively reserved to Filipinos.

This prohibition was stressed by Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson Atty. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang in reaction to criticisms received by the bureau after it denied entry to Giacomo Filibeck, an Italian who was found to be engaging in partisan political activity.

Filibeck, she said, was blacklisted because he violated the conditions of his stay as a tourist when he came to the Philippines last year, stressing that tourists are covered by the country’s immigration law, specifically BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 dated 03 July 2015, which prohibits foreign tourists from engaging in political activities in the country, “foreign tourists in the Philippines are enjoined to observe the limitation on the exercise of their political rights during their stay in the Philippines.” 

“We cannot allow the entry of foreigners who have shown disrespect to our duly-constituted authorities by meddling and interfering in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation,” she said.
Mangrobang said it was not the first time that an alien was expelled for engaging in political activities, as she cited the case of 20-year-old Dutch activist Thomas Van Beersum who was deported in August 2013 after he made a police officer cry during a rally against former President Benigno Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Beersum was photographed yelling at a weeping riot police officer during the protest outside the Congress Bldg. in Quezon City.
”He (Beersum) not only took part in a protest rally but he also berated and used foul words against the police officer.  He was later deported for violating the conditions of his tourist visa and was put on our blacklist,” Mangrobang added.