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9 HK journalists who heckled Noy blacklisted, but not for APEC

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday said that nine Hong Kong journalists have been in its blacklist since June for heckling President Aquino in Bali, Indonesia last year.

BI spokesperson Elaine Tan said the nine HK journalists, whom she did not name, were barred by the bureau from entering the country on the ground of “undesirability.”

But the government clarified that no one has been banned from covering the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next year, pointing out that journalits’ accreditation for the APEC event has  not even started.

Hong Kong newspapers reported that the nine journalists have been banned ahead of the APEC summit to be hosted by the Philippines next year.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has not specifically prevented anyone from covering the APEC summit in the Philippines in November 2015.

He said the PCOO, which is in charge of accrediting journalists who will cover the summit, “has not started the accreditation process for journalists.”

During the APEC meeting in October last year, President Aquino and Peru President Ollanta Humala were at the nearby Westin Hotel when the Hong Kong journalists created a commotion.

As Aquino entered a meeting of APEC business leaders, the reporters demanded to know whether he would meet with Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-Ying in Bali and apologize to the families of the victims of the Luneta park hostage crisis in August 2010.

A footage showed the journalists shouting at Aquino: “So you’re ignoring the Hong Kong people, right?”

The footage also showed the reporters asking Aquino if he met with Leung as they pushed their microphones over the people surrounding Aquino.

Aquino did not answer their questions and proceeded to his meeting.

BI’s Memorandum Order No. ADD-01-005 dated March 29, 2001 lists down grounds upon which foreigners may be disallowed to enter the country.

One of the grounds, anchored on the interest of public safety, is when a foreigner shows disrespect or makes offensive utterances to symbols of Philippine authority.

The BI coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, whose assessment are afforded more weight as they are considered to be in a better position to verify the information.

In the case of the nine HK journalists, the information was provided by the NICA.

“Following normal protocol, the endorsement by NICA resulted in the issuance of a blacklist order against the identified foreign nationals,” Tan said.

“The rationale is that the subject is a threat to public safety and blacklisting minimizes that risk,” she added.

A person who wishes his or her name to be removed from the BI’s blacklist could file a request for lifting with the BI commissioner.

“If one submits sufficient proof to reverse the blacklist, it may be lifted accordingly,” Tan said.

AQUINO AS AQUINO ASIA PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY HONG KONG JOURNALISTS
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