MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has blacklisted an official of the Party of European Socialists (PES) for engaging in a political activity in the Philippines, which is a violation of a 2015 issuance of the bureau.
Italian national Giacomo Filibeck was held and immediately deported upon landing at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport on April 15.
Filibeck is among 20 foreign guests of the Akbayan Partylist who were supposed to join the party congress to be held on Monday, April 16.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said on Monday that Filibeck is blacklisted in the Philippines after “violating immigration laws” during his last visit to the country in 2017.
The violation is that he took part in a political activity, which is prohibited under an immigration issuance.
No political activities for tourists
BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 dated 03 July 2015 states that “foreign tourists in the Philippines are enjoined to observe the limitation on the exercise of their political rights during their stay in the Philippines.”
“We cannot allow the entry of foreigners who have shown disrespect to our duly-constituted authorities by meddling and interfering in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation,” Morente said.
Filibeck went to the Philippines in October 2017 with members of other European human rights organizations to probe alleged human rights violations.
“He was not supposed to do that because being a tourist he does not enjoy the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen, particularly the exercise of political rights which are exclusively reserved to Filipinos,” Morente said.
President Rodrigo Duterte mistakenly linked them as an official European Union (EU) delegation. Based on wrong information, the President threatened to expel EU diplomats from the country. (READ: Wrong info leads Duterte to threaten EU diplomats)
Immigration spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said this isn’t the first time a foreigner was blacklisted for engaging in political activities.
Dutch national Thomas Van Beersum was deported in 2013 after he was photographed yelling at a police officer during the rallies in that year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. – Rappler.com