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|Update your stay now, overstaying aliens told|
27 August 2007
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) urged yesterday all overstaying aliens in the country to come out now and legalize their status in the country as he assured them that they will not be arrested if they volunteer to update their stay in the country.
Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan urged the overstaying aliens to avail of the BI’s new policy liberalizing its rules on visa extension for all foreign tourists regardless of their nationality. He assured the aliens that they will not be arrested so long as they update their stay, pay the necessary fees, and, if they have been living here for more than two years, voluntarily leave the country.
Libanan said he is giving all overstaying aliens a chance to legalize their stay here and avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of being arrested, jailed and deported if they are caught when the BI launches its big crackdown against illegal aliens.
“Don’t wait for us to catch you. You can come out now without fear of being arrested so long as you submit yourselves to our jurisdiction, comply with our rules and regulations and pay whatever fees you owe the government,” he declared.
Libanan said the liberalized policy on visa extensions was not only meant to persuade aliens who are “tago ng tago” or “TNTs” to come out in the open.
“More importantly, it will generate substantial revenues for the government by way of the fees and overstaying fines and penalties that they will have to pay to be able to update their stay,” he explained.
Libanan said that the BI is no longer just a regulatory and enforcement agency but has evolved into one of government’s revenue generating agencies.
He noted that while the bureau is allotted an average annual budget of only more than P300 million, its assigned revenue target has always been more than a billion pesos over the last five years.
In fact, he said the BI is targeting a revenue of P1.4 billion this year, up by more than P200 millions pesos over its goal last year.
Earlier, the BI announced that it was easing its rules on visa extensions by extending up to the two years within which foreign tourists may stay in the country. (BI-News)