Come to the Philippines. But Arrive Rude… You Lose Dude!

Immigration.

A much heated topic of debate these days in the United States. Actually, for well over 40 years now. They just can’t seem to fix the problem of illegal immigration. I’m leaning heavily on the idea that they really don’t want to because there seems to be an entire industry that makes money on helping keep people in the country… mainly lawyers. Now we have entire city government protecting illegals – Sanctuary Cities they are called.

Then I look at a country like the Philippines, where I choose to live. The way that most visitors wind up here “illegal” is through voluntary failure to leave. The majority arrive by plane, are provided visas upon arrival, then choose to hide out in a overstay status. That is a much different scenario than sneaking across a porous border with NO documentation however, it is an issue here in the Philippines. A much larger issue is the number of “undesirable’s” that are showing up here.

In recent years, the Philippines has tried to crack down on the number of undesirable individuals that are allowed to enter the Philippines, and it is now being addressed with stronger background checks from one’s country or origin. Although it is hard to with the tourist types, they are taking a different approach. You often read or hear about deportations in the Philippines, and it usually entails foreigners who may be apprehended for petty crimes or even more nefarious acts. Pedophilia comes to mind. It’s not very often that overstays are evicted. They just pay the fines and get updated.

Subjectivity – Battle on the Front Lines

The battle has turned to the most front line of defense… the airport, by arming immigration officials with “The power to Judge.” The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has revealed it deported 74 foreigners for being rude to immigration officers last year. They were simply refused entry into the country.  Some were even blacklisted from returning.

The BI says that such “disrespectful” behavior qualified visitors as being “undesirable aliens.” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente goes on to say that “The entry and stay of foreigners in the country is not a right but a mere privilege. Thus, they ought to show respect and courtesy to immigration officers upon their arrival in our ports of entry.” Can you just imagine if we adopted this policy in the West? We would need revolving doors at the airports!

According to BI officials, the Bureau has been strictly implementing a policy to “exclude or disallow the entry of foreigner who show disrespect or make offensive utterances to symbols of Philippine authority”. Such grounds for exclusion are listed under a memorandum order that former immigration chief Andrea Domingo issued in 2001. The 2001 memorandum provides not only for the exclusion of “rude foreigners” but also candidates for blacklisting, or to bar their return to the Philippines. While this directive is not new, it is being re-introduced with emphasis and determination (and maybe just a little prejudice).

Suselbeck blacklisted, set to be deported | philstar.com

“This is done to teach these arrogant and discourteous foreigners the lesson that ours is a sovereign country whose authority they should respect,” Jaime Morente also says. The current and updated policy though allows anyone who might be blacklisted for being rude, the opportunity to request removal of their name from the list. To do so, they would need to contact the BI commissioner with a formal apology and provide “meritorious reasons” for why they should be allowed to return to the Philippines.

My question is this –  Why can’t U.S. officials follow our own rule of law. Many foreigners here in the Philippines complain that the rule of law here is never followed, but it certainly is when it comes to immigration laws. I guess “rudeness” is protected under our Constitutional 1st Amendment (freedom of speech) and here in the Philippines, freedom of speech and attitude are two different things. Being overly disrespectful here can get you… well… you know!

I say when you intend on visiting or coming to live in one of the “Happiest Country on the Planet,” at least show up here with a smile and good attitude.

The Philippines…

Love it for what it is, not Hate it for what it isn’t!