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PIA Press Release

BID collects record high P1.74 billion visa fees in 2007

by Venus G. Villanueva

New Washington, Aklan (22 January) -- The Bureau of Immigration and Deportation's (BID) 2007 Visa Fees collection of P1.74 billion in 2007 is an all time high, the highest the bureau has ever collected over the previous years.

This was revealed by Commissioner Marcelino Libanan of the BID who was in Aklan recently to personally look into problems and concerns regarding immigration particularly in the island of Boracay as well as meeting with foreigners in the island engaging in business and other activities.

According to Commissioner Libanan, BID's visa fees collection in 2007 was way above its P370 million target.

"The BID is not a revenue generating agency yet we have performed well even on a budget equal to that of a small province," Commissioner Libanan told members of Aklan media at the press conference at the Sampaguita Gardens in New Washington, Aklan held January 21.

"Even with a small budget of P319 million in 2007, we managed to uphold the country's sovereignty by protecting the country against fugitives, terrorists and syndicates.

Commissioner Libanan also revealed that now, request for visa extension in the country could be obtained in one day.

"Before, when a foreigner applies for a visa extension, processing could take from 3 weeks to 51 days. Today, if a foreigner applies for visa extension in the morning, he could get it in the afternoon. If he applies in the afternoon, he could get it the following morning," Libanan said.

Libanan said the process is called Visa Issuance Made Simple or VIMS, which is being used as a model for other government agencies.

Libanan also announced at the press conference that soon, people from the BID will be visiting Boracay Island to conduct inspection on foreigners doing business in the island.

"Foreigners working in Boracay must have working visas, special work permits and they should follow the laws of the Philippines. They could work and enjoy in the country but they should only handle jobs which could not be done by Filipinos and leave the other jobs to the locals.

Commissioner Libanan called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here to check on foreigners doing business in Boracay Island if they are working based on Retail Trade Laws, and on the local government of Malay, Aklan where Boracay Island is, because it is the office releasing business permits.

"The BID, the DTI and the Dept. of Tourism are all for investments and tourism but are not for foreigners not following Philippine laws," Libanan said.

Commissioner Libanan has designated Vic Cunanan, an Aklanon, to assist on immigration concerns in Aklan. (PIA) [top]

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