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BI tightens watch vs foreign pedophiles

By: Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it is determined to help eradicate the Philippines’ image as a sex tourism spot by turning away foreign pedophiles and convicted and wanted sex offenders attempting to enter the country, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

Morente disclosed that since January last year a total of 312 sex offenders were refused entry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports of entry nationwide as a result of the BI’s intensified campaign to stop pedophiles from coming here.

“This means that immigration officers at our airports have been turning back an average of 18 foreign pedophiles every month or one sex offender every two days. This has not happened before,” the BI chief observed.

Morente said that under the immigration act, a foreigner convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude is an excludable alien and is thus banned from entering the country.

“We have no choice but to turn them back because if we allow them to come here they will surely pose a serious threat to our women and children as anyone of the latter could become their next victim,” he said.

BI port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas said the bureau relies on information provided by partner agencies abroad regarding convicted pedophiles or registered sex offenders who might enter the country.

He said that usually these overseas agencies would already alert the BI about a sex offender who had booked a flight to the Philippines so he could be intercepted upon his arrival, issued an exclusion order and booked on the first available flight to his port of origin.