Items filtered by date: December 2017

Senate to probe P15.5-B PH warships project

PROBE. The Senate is set to investigate the controversy hounding the P15.5-billion warships project of the Philippine Navy, amid accusations Special Assistant to the President Bong Go intervened in the deal.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Senate is set to investigate the P15.5-billion Philippine warships deal, amid allegations that Special Assistant to the President Bong Go intervened in the project.

The minority bloc filed Senate Resolution 584 on January 16, directing the Senate committee on national defense and security and the congressional oversight committee on the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act to conduct an inquiry on the status of its implementation, including the acquisition of the two Philippine Navy frigates.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila de Lima signed the resolution.

In calling for an investigation, the Senate opposition said the committees should “determine whether or not such acquisition promotes the goals of the modernization program and complies with pertinent laws.”

When asked, the office of Senator Gregorio Honasan – chair of the Senate committee – said it would push through with the probe and was fixing the schedule.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also said they would investigate the deal. “Yes, [the] resolution is referred already to the committee,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, however, is against it.

“Waste of time. We are so busy….Wala naman 'yun eh (It's nothing). They are making a mountain out of a molehill,” Sotto said.

It remains unclear as of posting if Go would be invited to the hearing.

The Department of National Defense welcomed the investigation.

"The Department of National Defense welcomes the plan of the Senate to conduct an investigation on the Frigate Acquisition Project. In fact, we have long been waiting for the opportunity to shed light on this issue so that the truth will finally be known," DND Spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

Malacañang's role?

Go, President Rodrigo Duterte’s closest aide, is alleged to have intervened in the selection of the supplier for the Combat Management Systems (CMS), likened to a brain of a ship, of the two Navy frigates.

The contract was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The parts and systems of the ship, including the critical CMS however, are to be provided by a secondary supplier that is supposed to be chosen based on the technical specifications of the contract.

The project is in an early stage – the Critical Design Review (CDR) – which is expected to list down, among others, the secondary suppliers.

The CDR needs to be approved by the Navy before the actual work to build the ship begins.

That is where they stalled. The Department of National Defense (DND), HHI, and Navy had been debating the CMS.

The Navy has not yet approved the CDR, meaning construction of the ships cannot start.

Go allegedly intervened by sending a white paper to the DND expressing preference for Hanwha Thales, a South Korean company, as the supplier for the CMS.

In January last year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana gave the white paper to then Navy Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado, who insisted on the Navy’s position that they choose Tacticos Thales of the Netherlands because of its "proven technology." (READ: Ousted PH Navy fhied wanted 'proven technology' for warships)

Barely a week after the white paper was sent to Mercado, Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, then with the Presidential Management Staff under Go, arranged a meeting with the Navy team in charge of the project to discuss the selection of the CMS supplier. (READ: [EXCLUSIVE] Undersecretary in Bong Go's office confirms letter on frigate deal)

Mercado was relieved from his post mid-December 2017.

Go issued a blanket denial of the allegations, saying he never directly or indirectly intervened in the project.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, said Go's office does relay papers of reference and other documents to line agencies concerned, as a matter of procedure. (READ: Malacañang claims no chance Bong Go intervened in frigate deal)

Malacañang also denounced the report, saying the bidding of the project happened under the Aquino administration.

The Palace, however, disregarded the fact that the alleged intervention happened during the impasse in the project’s implementation – which was already under the Duterte administration. – Rappler.com

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Cha-cha train will get derailed, Drilon warns

The House of Representatives’ Charter change (Cha-cha) train would get derailed even before it leaves the station, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon warned on Friday.
Drilon’s statement came after House leaders insisted that nothing would stop the “Cha-cha express train” even without senators onboard.

Last Tuesday, the House adopted Concurrent Resolution No. 9, which seeks to convene Congress into a Constituent assembly (Con-ass) to amend the Charter.

The lower chamber is also pushing for a joint voting of the Congress, which the Senate is strongly opposing.
“The House Cha-cha train will get derailed even before it leaves the station—the Filipino people will see the real plan in federalism: suspend elections, extend the terms of members of Congress, and do away with the check and balance system by abolishing the Senate,” Drilon said in a statement.
When asked about House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ statement urging the public not to vote for senators who do not support federalism, the Minority Leader said: “The issue at this point is the brazen move of the House to impose and railroad Cha-cha without public debate and participation.”
“But having said that, the senators are willing to face the people on their stand on federalism,” he added.
Lawmakers have yet to decide on whether the proposed Constitutional amendment should be through a Constitutional convention (Con-con), where changes would be proposed by representatives elected by the people, or through a Con-ass to be composed of sitting legislators.
After agreeing on the mode of Cha-cha and consequently proposing amendments, a referendum by the Filipino people would be held to approve these changes. /jpv

 

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Polk Co. egg farm accused of animal abuse after undercover video released

LAKE WALES (FOX 13) - An egg farm in Polk County is under fire from an animal rights organization that released video Tuesday, saying it shows chickens suffering serious abuse.

The Animal Recovery Mission, or ARM, said it conducted an investigation that lasted about three weeks during which an undercover worker was hired by Cal-Maine Foods' Lake Wales egg farm.

The ARM activist claims to have witnessed and recorded deplorable conditions, including chickens crammed into cages and, in some cases, living with dead birds, as well as quarters that were infested with cockroaches.

During a news conference, Richard Couto, ARM's founder, told reporters his organization had a suspicion it would find unlivable conditions inside the chickens' housing systems, known as battery cages, and he believes that's what was recorded on video.

"What we basically wanted to do was to see what was going on behind closed doors at the Cal-Maine corporation and more in general, battery cage systems in the state of Florida," Couto said. "We found horrific conditions, some of the dirtiest, filthiest of battery cage farms every investigated in our country."

Couto said some of Cal-Maine's workers are guilty of serious abuse, sometimes hitting escaped chickens with sticks or even killing them with their bare hands.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office charged Matthew Faulkner, a former Cal-Maine worker, with animal cruelty based on the video recorded by ARM.


"They were being trampled to death by workers, they were being thrown against walls, they were being stomped on, they were being actually drowned in their own feces in the gallows," Couto said. "They were dying very long deaths of starvation."

Cal-Maine acknowledged one of its now-former workers was caught on video abusing a hen and told FOX 13 that worker was immediately fired.

In a statement, Cal-Maine said it is an "industry leader in implementing animal welfare measures" and called the video "staged."

The company put the blame on the ARM undercover worker, who had been hired as a hen caregiver. Cal-Maine said that man, "chose to disregard required farm procedures as part of his intent to misrepresent our efforts to provide proper care for our hens."

An inspection earlier this month by the Florida Department of Agriculture found no violations.

ARM, however, stands by its report and said this is one step in its long-term goal to "break open the door of these operations [and] show the public where their food is coming from."

Cal-Maine is a major egg supplier for Walmart and Publix. ARM is hoping the two major chain stores will sever ties with Cal-Maine until it addresses the alleged abuse. In a statement, a Walmart spokesperson said:

"We do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals and we’re working with our suppliers to quickly and thoroughly investigate the actions shown in the video...and to take the appropriate steps to help ensure this unacceptable behavior cannot continue. We take animal rights seriously and have strict policies in place to hold our suppliers accountable.”

A Publix spokesperson said they became aware of the undercover video Tuesday, and have not received any eggs from the particular Cal-Main Foods Inc. farm in Lake Wales.

"In addition, our own associates have visited the Cal-Maine farms that provide eggs to Publix to conduct animal well-being assessments. These farms are also audited annually by third party animal welfare experts. Based on all the information we have at this time, we have made the decision to continue doing business with Cal-Maine. We will continue to monitor the animal welfare programs of Cal-Maine and our other suppliers."

Couto has spent years fighting animal abuse in Florida.

In 2012, his undercover video exposed farms in Citrus Park slaughtering horses for meat. He uncovered the same in 2015 at Rancho Garcia in Loxahatchee, with a video showing horses tortured and slaughtered for meat, and being skinned while still alive.

"Horses were being bought from the show horse community throughout Wellington, from thoroughbred racetracks, from auctions, from Craigslist," Couto said.

And, in November, video from Larson Dairy Farms in Okeechobee showed a cow herder beating, kicking and slapping cows to produce more milk.

"They will do whatever means necessary to get as much milk out of these cows as fast as possible," Couto said after the video came out.

Publix, which, at the time, sold Larson Dairy products, suspended raw milk deliveries from that farm. The owner of the farm fired at least one employee and suspended two others, saying the video goes against everything he stands for.

"Break open the door of these operations, show the public where their food is coming from," Couto said on Tuesday.

His mission is not just to push for awareness, but action. He wants companies to end the use of battery cage systems seen in his video from Lake Wales.

"The alternative is free-range chickens. They live in a pasture. You can buy those eggs at your local grocery store," Couto said.

 

Watch the video: https://w3.cdn.anvato.net/player/prod/v3/anvload.html?key=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%3D

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Goldstein Investigation: $10 Million LAPD Electric BMWs Appear Unused Or Misused

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Police Department made a big deal about going green with a fleet of electric BMWs.

But our David Goldstein has discovered some of those cars are sitting in the garage.

Here is a full script of Goldstein’s investigation:

“This is part of a million-dollar pilot program. You’re really supposed to get a manicure using the BMWs?”

We followed this LAPD commander driving one of the department’s fleet of electric BMWs to a nail salon.

“Is it supposed to be used for getting a manicure?”

The cars are part of a multimillion-dollar taxpayer funded project to help the LAPD go green.

But our investigation of department records found some electric cars are sitting unused with only a few hundred miles on them, and with hidden cameras, we found others are allegedly being misused.

“The LAPD unveiled its patrol cars of the future today.”

In a 2016 well-choreographed press conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck got out of an electric BMW driven by Mayor Garcetti to tout the city’s ambitious project.

“They certainly have the performance potential.”

BMW won the contract to provide electric cars for the LAPD. One hundred delivered each year for three years, to be used right now for administrative purposes. Non-emergencies.
The department is leasing them.

The cost: $10.2 million, which includes charging stations.

“We want to be responsive to the community.”

Money well worth it according to LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas.

“It’s all a part of saving the Earth, going green … quite frankly, to try and save money for the community and the taxpayers.”

But sources say some personnel are reluctant to use the electric cars because they can only go 80-100 miles on a charge.

And the mileage logs we obtained seem to back that up.

From April 2016 when the project started through August 2017, we found most of the electric cars have only been used for a few thousand miles.

And a handful are sitting in the garage with only a few hundred on them.

Like this one in service since may 27, 2016, with just 400 miles on it!

That’s an average use of 6 miles a week!

With the monthly lease payment of a little more than $418, this one costs taxpayers over $15 a mile to use!

“It just doesn’t make any sense!

Political watchdog Jack Humphreville says it seems the department was more interested in the image of using electric cars than the implementation.

“First of all, if they’re going to be using $10 million of our money, or basically leasing $10 million of equipment, they ought to have a damn plan!”

“Isn’t that just a tremendous waste of money?”

But while some are used infrequently, with hidden cameras we watched a few LAPD personnel using these expensive electric cars perhaps improperly.

We followed someone after leaving the downtown police garage; they went to the drive-through at Yoshinoya.

And go right back to the garage. A taxpayer funded electric ride for lunch.

On another day, someone drove from downtown LA to Loyola Marymount University in West LA picked up someone who appeared to be a student and went to lunch.

And on this day, we watched Annemarie Sauer, who is commanding officer of LAPD fiscal operations. She used the department’s electric BMW and stopped at an elementary school in long beach, which is outside the city of LA. She stayed there for almost an hour.

Then she parked the car a few blocks away outside this nail salon.

Inside with a hidden camera, that’s the LAPD commander on the left getting a manicure. She spent over an hour inside the salon.

“She’s pointing over at her car.”

Commander Sauer gestured toward where the BMW was parked as she left the salon with the manicurist. And then made her way back to the city car.

“I’m David Goldstein with CBS2 News.”

She didn’t have anything to say.

“You’re getting a manicure using the LAPD BMWs. This is part of a million-dollar pilot program. Is it supposed to be used for getting a manicure?”

“I have no comment at this time.”

“She’s getting her nails done”

We showed Assistant Chief Villegas the video.

“Is that proper use of the BMW?”

“It doesn’t appear to be.”

The deputy chief say the department policy is that cars are to be used for business only. And they’ll look into what we found.

Overall, he claims the programs is a success and hopes that the use of electric cars will increase.

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House reps question SC lawyer's faith, intentions at Sereno impeach hearing

GRILLED. Supreme Court lawyer Jocelyn Fabian is grilled for hours on end by the House justice committee hearing the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – For hours, lawyer Jocelyn Fabian had to sit in the House Justice Committee hearing listening to one lawmaker after another grill her on her credentials and intentions.

She is a hire of the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ), and the head of the Technical Working Group (TWG) being hit by the committee as causing inordinate delay in the issuance of survivorship benefits.

Fabian was a certified public accountant since 1985 before she passed the Bar in 2011. Two years later, in 2013, she was hired by the Supreme Court (SC) to the office of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who is now being impeached.

Complainant Larry Gadon wants to make it appear that Sereno hired an incompetent person, and appointed her to a crucial role. Fabian and Sereno are sisters in the Christian faith.

It was on this grounds that she was grilled for hours on end by lawmakers on Wednesday, January 17, in the continuation of Sereno’s impeachment hearing.

‘Christian, Christian na ‘yan’

“They belong to one Church, ‘yun nga mga Christian, Christian effect na ‘yan, ek ek,” Gadon said, making fun of their faith.

He was reprimanded by Pampanga Representative Juan Pablo Bondoc, and Umali even had the remark deleted from record.

But the succeeding interpellations questioned her faith and intentions just the same.

Fabian claimed that she does not know Sereno personally, but she added that one of her character references was lawyer Winnie Salumbides, who also belongs to the Christian faith and is now a spokesperson for Sereno.

Right before applying for the SC, Fabian was an operations head for a real estate company, earning around P60,000 a month on top of bonuses and other perks.

“Why did you decide to leave such a lucrative position, cast your luck, apply for a position that’s not permanent, you wouldn’t even know you would be accepted?” Cebu 3rd District Gwen Garcia asked her.

“It may sound incredible, but that is the truth and if I am a person of figures, I am also a person of faith, I used to be missionary, I am used to minimal compensation. I am not married, there is not much to be worried about, and my family, by the grace of God, is able,” Fabian said.

But still Garcia was not satisfied.

“You said that you didn't know the Chief Justice, why did you not apply for a law firm that you know, or applied somewhere else...unless you can convince us that such blind faith is credible, please do not try to muddle the issue here,” the lawmaker said.

Not for money

This exchange between Garcia and Fabian went on for a while, leading Fabian to say: “I do not apply just because I know somebody, or the prospect is profitable. My view of working is not really to earn.”

Garcia refused to buy Fabian’s story that she wanted to “contribute to nation building” and just counted on her stars that Sereno – who she said she believed in – would hire her.

“You based your beliefs in the Chief Justice and that she would realize your dreams of nation building because you realized you belonged to the same faith?” the Cebu representative asked.

Bondoc butted in and tried to appease Fabian by saying that what they’re questioning is whether Sereno was rational in hiring her – an experienced accountant – for a crucial job in the SC.

But then he came around to using Fabian’s faith again in criticizing the performance of the TWG, which supposedly caused an average two years in delays in issuing survivorship benefits.

“Why would the Chief Justice hire a person who cannot explain why she left the private sector? You did not use rational thinking, you used faith for your decision in your private life, would that be the same reason for the decision you now make which the SC is now saying, you were wrong?” he said impassionately.

To that, Fabian wanted to respond, but she had to assert herself in the microphone before Umali allowed her to speak. “Make it concise,” said Umali.

“Rational din po ako, kaya lang meron po akong pananampalataya, hindi po sila exclusive (I'm rational, but I also have faith, they're not exclusive),” Fabian said.

“Okay na?” Umali said, as he moved on to the next topic.

Umali maintained the committee was not harsh on Fabian, and defended that the lines of questioning of the members were just because Fabian’s evasiveness. – Rappler.com

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College of St Benilde beats AU, ends title drought in NCAA football

8 YEARS. College of St. Benilde finally dethrones Arellano University for the NCAA Season 93 football crown. Photo by Bob Guerrero/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Eight years of heartbreak are finally over for the CSB Blazers.

Benilde defeated Arellano 1-1 AET, 3-2 PSO in the deciding match of their best-of-3 finals series to claim the Season 93 crown in front of a noisy crowd at Rizal Memorial on the night of Wednesday, January 17.

Blazer Miguel Artillera scored in the 38th minute from the right flank which was negated by Chief Papuh Corsame 4 minutes into the second half. The Arellano goal came immediately on a counterattack after Benilde withdrew centerback Julito Asparen for Earl Laguerta.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

Artillera had two chances in the second half and Corsame was close on a late header but regulation finished 1-1.

In extra time, Corsame had a great chance for a winner off a fumble from Benilde keeper Jake Vicen but he yanked his shot wide.

Arellano missed the goal frame on two attempts in the shootout, with both Angelo Guengon and Evander Alquileta putting their kicks inches high.

Vicen sealed the title when he batted away Corsame's try in the bottom of the 5th inning.

In the first game last Friday Arellano prevailed in extra time 3-2 thanks to a late strike from Jumbel Guinabang. Benilde leveled on Monday, January 15, in game 2, winning 3-1 in a shoot out after 120 minutes of football ended 1-1.

Blazers skipper Renz Tulayba won the best midfielder and league MVP award.

In the Juniors division San Beda won the title, sweeping De La Salle Greenhills in two games on Friday and Monday, with JR Suba scoring a hat trick in game two as the Red Cubs won 3-3 AET and 3-1 in a shootout. – Rappler.com

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Tacloban airport closed for repairs

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) ordered yesterday the temporary closure of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City to pave the way for repair works of potholes on the runway caused by continuous rains since last week.

In a notice to airmen, CAAP said the airport would be closed from 5:30 p.m. yesterday until 9 p.m. today.

Cebu Pacific and its subsidiary Cebgo cancelled six flights to and from Tacloban yesterday.

Cebu Pacific said flights to and from Tacloban might also be affected in the coming days due to additional repairs on the runway.

 

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Alec Baldwin defends director Woody Allen as Hollywood backs away

Alec Baldwin and Woody Allen. (Photos by Reuters)
LOS ANGELES | Actor Alec Baldwin on Tuesday expressed support for filmmaker Woody Allen as a growing number of entertainment industry stars seek to distance themselves from the “Annie Hall” director as part of the Time’s Up campaign against sexual misconduct.

Baldwin, who appeared in three of Allen’s films, said on Twitter that the renunciation of the director and his work was “unfair and sad to me.”

Baldwin said working with Allen was “one of the privileges of my career.”

Allen has repeatedly denied decades-old accusations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old in the early 1990s.

But sentiment has turned against him during the sexual misconduct scandal sweeping Hollywood that has led to dozens of successful men being forced to resign or being dropped from projects.

“I am credible, and I am telling the truth, and I think it’s important that people realize that one victim, one accuser, matters. And that they are enough to change things,” Farrow said in an advance excerpt from a television interview due to be broadcast on the CBS show “This Morning” on Thursday.

Baldwin said he did not intend to “dismiss or ignore such complaints.”

“But accusing people of such crimes should be treated carefully,” he added.

Representatives of Allen did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The director has never been charged with a crime.

Allen, 82, won Oscars for the films “Annie Hall,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and the 2011 comedy “Midnight in Paris,” and continues to release a new movie almost every year.

Timothee Chalamet, 22, the star of gay romance “Call me By Your Name,” this week became the latest actor to announce he will donate the salary he earned from an Allen movie to “Time’s Up” and other causes for sexual abuse victims.

He followed Rebecca Hall, Ellen Page and Mira Sorvino who have made donations or issued regrets about working with Allen in recent weeks. Last week “Lady Bird” director Greta Gerwig, who acted in the 2012 film “To Rome with Love,” said she would not work with Allen again.

The “Time’s Up” campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace was launched two weeks ago by more than 300 Hollywood industry figures.

Allen’s most recent film “Wonder Wheel,” distributed by Amazon Studios, has fared poorly at the North American box office taking only $1.4 million since its Dec. 1 release.

His next film “A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Chalametand also from Amazon, is due for release later this year.

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‘TROJAN HORSE’ | House Minority: Giving China Telecom access to communications infra too risky

An internet cable is seen at a server room in this picture illustration. REUTERS FILE
MANILA – Opposition members of the Philippine Congress raised concern on Wednesday that China Telecom Corp Ltd, which may enter the Philippine industry, could be a “Trojan horse” aimed at giving China access to state secrets.

The Southeast Asian country aims to name a third telecom operator within the first quarter that will break the duopoly of PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom Inc. State-run China Telecom has been named as a possible investor in that third entity.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who has warned both PLDT and Globe to shape up or face competition, has welcomed Chinese entities specifically to become the third telecoms operator.

Beijing has selected China Telecom to invest in the Philippines, according to Philippine officials, but it would need to partner with a local company as it cannot operate alone under the law.

China Telecom’s presence in the Philippines, however, does not sit well with some lawmakers, given China’s telecommunications expertise and sophisticated technology.

Despite Duterte’s warm relations with China, the Philippines has a long history of mistrust of it, due largely to its maritime assertiveness and its challenges to Philippine claims of sovereignty over various islands, reefs and waters.

“While we agree that telecommunications and connectivity are serious problems in our country, it behooves us to scrutinize the China deal,” the House minority bloc said in a statement.

“Is China Telecom a Trojan horse?”

The lawmakers sought a congressional inquiry and cautioned the government against rushing into any deal.

“Giving China access to the country’s communications infrastructure is a serious threat to national security,” they said, adding that even the United States was aware of such risk.

Two US lawmakers introduced a bill this week that bars the US government from using or contracting with Chinese telecom firms Huawei or ZTE Corp.

The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on the lawmakers’ security concerns.

The Philippine Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) sought to allay the lawmakers’ concern on Wednesday.

A National Cybersecurity Plan is in place to provide measures and controls against security risks, DICT Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong told Reuters.

“Rest assured that there is no problem. What is important is that we are focused on the development of the country,” he said.

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Over 5,000 aliens barred from entering PH in 2017

Reuters file photo of a Philippine flag
MANILA — More than 5,000 foreign nationals have been barred from entering the country last year, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Wednesday.

According to BI Port Operations Division (POD) chief Marc Red Mariñas, a total of 5,146 foreign nationals were denied entry in different airports nationwide in 2017.

He said that the aliens were prevented from entering the country as their presence was deemed “inimical to national interest”.

Statistics showed that 2,168 Chinese nationals topped the list of excluded aliens, followed by 295 Indians, 190 Americans, 183 Koreans, and 120 Vietnamese.

Based on his report submitted to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, Mariñas disclosed that majority of the foreigners, or 4,511, were turned away at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

A total of 334 and 112 aliens were also denied entry at the airports in Mactan, Cebu and Kalibo, Aklan, respectively, while 11 others were intercepted at Clark, Pampanga.

Mariñas added that most of the aliens who were turned back were profiled as individuals who did not have the means to support their stay here and whose purposes in entering the country were doubtful.

Likewise, he said that exclusion orders were issued against the foreign nationals convicted of sex crimes, improperly documented aliens, and passengers who were rude and disrespectful towards immigration officers.

For his part, Morente commended the BI-POD personnel for thwarting the entry of the undesirable aliens even as he exhorted them to keep their vigilance in discharging their duties as gatekeepers of the country.

“Our country is safer and our borders are secure because of you. Keep watching!” the BI chief in his message to BI port personnel.

 

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