Protesters block an intersection near Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, after earlier in the day two Iraqi refugees were detained while trying to enter the country. On Friday, Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending all immigration from countries with terrorism concerns for 90 days. Countries included in the ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, which are all Muslim-majority nations.
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Palace says it's too early to react to Trump's travel ban
Alexis Romero ( - January 29, 2017 - 3:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang respects the Trump administration’s move to temporarily bar the entry of citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries and refugees to the US but believes it is too early to react to the policy.

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Banaag said the US government has the right to implement its immigration policies and to determine who are qualified to enter the country.

“Well, in the first place, we respect the policy of the United States of America if they have prohibitions or they would be banning people from entering their country because that is their right. And they have the visa right? They have regulations on who are qualified to go to their country,” Banaag told state-run radio station dzRB Sunday.

“So, what we can do perhaps would be to let the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) negotiate on that matter. However, we would respect whatever regulation would be implemented by the embassy or the US on that matter,” she added.  

Last Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of refugees for 120 days. The order, which was supposedly intended to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US, covered citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The move sparked outrage among civil liberty groups and the political opposition, who claim that it constitutes discrimination and bigotry.

Trump has defended his controversial order, believing it would protect the US from terrorist attacks.

US customs and border patrol personnel have expressed support for the ban and have vowed to “work tirelessly to keep criminals, terrorists, and public safety threats” out of the US.
Banaag said Malacañang can only react to the contents of Trump’s order once it is studied by the Philippine Embassy in the US.   

“For now, if it is not clear and if it is not yet put in paper and it has not reached our embassy, it’s too early for us to comment on that,” she added.

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