Days before SONA, Immigration warns foreigners against joining rallies
The anti-Duterte rally on July 23, 2018 drew in 23,000 protesters.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file
Days before SONA, Immigration warns foreigners against joining rallies
Kristine Joy Patag ( - July 17, 2019 - 12:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — Less than a week before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address, the Bureau of Immigration reminded foreign nationals that they are prohibited from joining protests in the country.

In a release Wednesday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated that foreigners who will join protests and mass actions may face deportation.

The president is set to deliver his fourth SONA on July 22. Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, on Tuesday, urged the public to join the protests during SONA "to voice our issues and concerns."

But Morente stressed: “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.”

In the past, the bureau deported, or denied visa of, the following foreign nationals:

  • In 2013, Dutch Thomaas van Beersum for “joining a protest and taunting a crying policeman”
  • Kim Chatillon-Miller, for participating in an anti-SONA demonstration
  • In 2018, Australian nun Patricia Fox was denied of the renewal for “violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan political activities”
  • Zimbabwean Tawanda Chandiwana, American Adam Thomas Shaw and Malawian Miracle Osman were also told to leave “for involvement in leftist laws.”

“Follow our laws. It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines; please respect our government and our laws,” Morente added.

BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 provides that “foreign tourists are prohibited from engaging in any political activity as defined by law and jurisprudence, such as but not limited to, joining, supporting, contributing or involving themselves in whatever manner in any rally, assembly, gathering, whether for or against the government.”

The bureau cited the said order when it did not allow Sister Patricia Fox, a 72-year-old nun, who has been helping groups in the country for decades, to renew her visa.

READ: Group hits ‘repressive’ BI order used as basis to detain Australian nun

Morente stressed: “Foreigners have no business joining such activities as it is a clear violation of their conditions of stay.”

The commissioner also warned that foreigners “if found committing acts that constitute overthrowing the government, unlawful destruction of property, and violation of the conditions of their stay” may be blacklisted and barred from re-entering the country. 

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with