A record number of 7,724 unwanted foreigners were barred from entering the country in 2019, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Thursday.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said these foreigners were denied entry last year, an increase of 65 percent from 4,679 in 2018.
They were turned back by immigration officers who, after the conduct of primary and secondary inspection, found that they were improperly documented, or ineligible to enter and stay in the Philippines, Morente said in a statement.
He added that foreigners were immediately booked on the first available flight back to their port of origin.
The BI chief said immigration officers have the authority to assess and decide if an arriving alien is eligible to be admitted into the country as a temporary visitor.
A foreigner may be excluded if he is improperly documented, or the immigration officer deems that his presence or stay here is inimical to the national interest and public welfare, Morente added.
Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina attributed the increase in the number of excluded aliens to the vigilance of BI personnel manning the country's ports of entry.
He reported that 3,527 Chinese topped the list of the excluded aliens, followed by 488 Vietnamese, 380 Indians, 329 Indonesians, and 255 Malaysians.
Medina added that nearly two-thirds of the aliens were tagged as likely to become public charges or persons, whose reasons for entry to the Philippines are doubtful, lacked the means to support their stay in the country and were unable to explain their purpose in traveling to the Philippines.
The others who were turned back were improperly documented aliens, convicted sex offenders, rude passengers, blacklisted foreigners, and those without entry visas, he said.
Meanwhile, Morente vowed that the BI will continue to be vigilant against undesirable aliens in 2020.
We are ensuring that our borders are tightly guarded to prevent the entry of illegal aliens who might abuse our hospitality, he said.
He added that aliens who are here for legitimate purposes have nothing to worry about and promised to deliver better public service for the coming years.
Source: Philippines News Agency