Travel agency probed over fake visas for 7 Chinese
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) recently suspended a travel agency while it is under investigation for allegedly duplicating the visas of seven Chinese.

In yesterday’s statement, the BI said it found evidence that the travel agency, accredited by both the bureau and the Department of Tourism (DOT), allowed the seven Chinese to obtain the visas upon arrival (VUA) though fraud, misrepresentation or false information.

The BI issued the order for the travel agency’s suspension on Jan. 15. The bureau did not disclose the name of the travel agency, but said it has directed the firm to submit a written explanation on why its accreditation with the bureau should not be cancelled and its cash bond not forfeited.

The seven Chinese were sent back after they presented bogus visas at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on Jan. 9.

“What these illegals do not know is that we have incorporated VUA records in our computer systems since early last year, hence visas are immediately verified upon presentation to the officer,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the seven Chinese may have intended to illegally work in the country.

On Jan. 8, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an order limiting to 30 days, non-extendable, the period VUA holders may stay in the country.

The BI implemented the VUA program following a 2017 circular from the DOJ. The move, as initiated by the DOT, was meant to provide faster processing to attract more tourists and investors from China, which reports said has the world’s largest number of outbound tourists.

 

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