Romualdez: Probe irregularities in registration of birth, retirement visa

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Romualdez: Probe irregularities in registration of birth, retirement visa
Speaker Martin Romualdez meets with his National Diet of Japan counterpart Speaker Fukushiro Nukaga at the Tokyo parliamentary building yesterday to discuss various issues beneficial to the Philippines and the Filipino people. The issues include fair access to Philippine agricultural products, support for infrastructure projects under the Official Development Assistance, protection of overseas Filipino workers, Japanese investments and security partnerships.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday ordered a probe into possible irregularities in the late registration of birth and issuances of retirement and investor visas to foreign nationals, particularly Chinese nationals.

According to ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo, he was directed by Romualdez to initiate the investigation, prompting him to file House Resolution 1771 yesterday to seek the probe.

The resolution urges the House of Representatives to look into the processes of late registration of birth and the issuance of Special Resident Retiree’s Visas (SRRV) and Special Investor’s Resident Visas (SIRV).

Tulfo said in an interview that they believe these processes have been abused, resulting in the influx of Chinese nationals in the country.

The lawmaker got information that the irregularities lie within the Local Civil Registrar in local government units, which allow late registration even under doubtful circumstances.

He cited that there were Chinese nationals given retirement visas even at the age of 35, while others got investor’s visas when they were only employees in Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGOs.

“Even those who could not even speak Filipino are able to get Philippine passports because they are able to present to DFA their Philippine birth certificates,” he noted, referring to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Tulfo added it is crucial for Congress to unearth the irregularities in the processes of the late registration of birth and issuances of retirement and investor’s visas among Chinese nationals.

The lawmaker proposes that the probe should cover the Philippine Retirement Association under the Department of Tourism, Board of Investment under the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Statistics Authority.

He maintained that it is imperative to assess these governmental processes to be able to institute the necessary correction.

“(The) possible circumvention of our laws through the existing policies on SIRV, SRRV and delayed registration of birth undermines the Philippine authorities and aids in the perpetration of illegal activities in the country committed by foreign nationals,” the resolution reads.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, Speaker Romualdez on Tuesday met with his Japanese counterpart, Speaker Fukushiro Nukaga, where both committed to supporting their governments’ efforts to sustain and enhance the momentum of their bilateral relations.

“Japan remains one of the Philippines’ most dependable partners,” Romualdez affirmed. “Our shared universal values, including freedom, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and a free and open economy underpin our strategic partnership.”

At the same meeting, both Philippine and Japanese legislators committed to enhancing the defense and security cooperation between Manila and Tokyo and expanding trilateral cooperation with the US.

“Our relationship is at an all-time high with the recent signing not just of the trilateral agreement, but of our relationship, of our strategic partnership,” Romualdez said.

In response, Nukaga thanked the House leader for recognizing the assistance extended by the Japanese government, which is the number one provider of official development assistance to Manila.

Nukaga said that Japan and the Philippines share the same values and it is important to collaborate on areas like defense and security.

He added that for him, the “rule of law” should be the basis of security and protecting and upholding democracy, as well as securing the international order.

“Thank you very much for mentioning the wide range of good things. I’m very glad that Japan and the Philippines have built very good bilateral relations,” Nukaga said.

Nukaga also stated he was the head of the Japan Defense Agency twice, so he truly understands the “importance of collaboration between countries” that share the same values and democracy. — Delon Porcalla

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