An EasyJet aircraft prepares to land at London Gatwick Airport, south of London, on Dec. 21, 2018. The Philippines' Bureau of Immigration issued a statement about the one-year Balikbayan visa privilege following an incident where an unnamed "budding local celebrity" cursed at immigration officials.
Ben Stansall/AFP
Immigration warns ‘budding local celebrity’: Violating aliens may be blacklisted
(Philstar.com) - January 4, 2019 - 4:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration on Friday reminded the public about the scope of its program for former Filipinos after “an unnamed budding local celebrity” reportedly disrespected immigration officers for granting him only 30 days to stay in the country.

In a statement, the immigration said the one-year Balikbayan visa privilege is “exclusively given to former Filipinos naturalized abroad, and their spouse and children who are travelling with them.”

Immigration spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval clarified that those who have Philippine lineage do not necessarily qualify for the Balikbayan Privilege.

“The privilege is for former Filipinos, and their immediate family members who are traveling with them only,” Sandoval explained. 

“If these family members are not travelling with the Filipino or former Filipino, they are not qualified for the one year visa free privilege,” she added.

In its press statement, the immigration took note of a reported incident that happened on Thursday at the immigration area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. It said the incident involved a celebrity “who the agency refused to name.”

According to the bureau, the celebrity is an American passport holder who reportedly had an expletive-peppered outburst when he was only given a 30-day stay. He was allegedly furious at immigration for “giving him a hard time, despite him being a celebrity, with people wanting to take pictures with him,” the immigration said.

“While our immigration officers have been instructed to observe maximum tolerance, it is against the law to disrespect immigration authorities, and violating aliens may be excluded and blacklisted from the Philippines,” Sandoval warned. 

“Showing disrespect to symbols of authority is essentially showing disrespect to the country,” she added.

Tony Labrusca in hot water

Reports say “Glorious” actor Tony Labrusca said in a now-deleted tweet: “Just landed in Manila and the Philippine immigration only gave me 30 days here . LOL . k”

Some netizens berated Labrusca for his alleged behavior.

According to the immigration, those who are admitted as Balikbayans are given an initial stay of one year, which they may extend for another one, two, or six months. 

Meanwhile, those who do not qualify but are within the list of 157 countries eligible for visa free entry can get an automatic 30-day visa upon their arrival.

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