BI Reminds Foreign Nationals Not to Engage in Political Activities in the Philippines
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is reminding foreign nationals residing or visiting the Philippines to refrain from engaging in any political activity in the country. This advisory is in preparation of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 22.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed the prohibition a week before the SONA, stating that foreign nationals are not vested with the same political rights and privileges as Filipino citizens.
“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” the BI chief said.
In recent years, several foreign nationals have been deported for participating in protests and mass actions against the government. In 2013, Dutch citizen Thomas van Beersum was deported after being photographed taunting a crying policeman while joining a protest. In the same year, Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Miller was also deported for joining an anti-SONA demonstration. In 2018, Zimbabwean Tawanda Chandiwana, American Adam Thomas Shaw, and Malawian Miracle Osman were ordered to leave for involvement in leftist activities. Also in 2018, Australian nun Patricia Fox violated the conditions of her stay by participating in partisan political activities, resulting in her visa being denied for renewal.
“Joining political demonstrations is an utter display of disrespect to the country’s authorities, and is equivalent to meddling in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation,” Morente added.
BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 prohibits foreigners from engaging in internal political affairs in the Philippines. The order prohibits them from “joining, supporting, contributing or involving themselves in whatever manner in any rally, assembly or gathering”.
Those found guilty of committing acts that constitute overthrowing the government, unlawful destruction of property or violation of the conditions of their stay will be deported.
Morente added that after deportation, such foreigners will be blacklisted — which forbids them to re-enter the Philippines.