DFA chief: Allowing foreigners in PH sans visa is "wrong"
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said allowing foreigners to enter the country without visa is “wrong.”
In an interview by radio station DZMM on Saturday, Locsin wondered why the Philippines has a “visa-free” entry.
“Who started that?... Before Americans used to line up for visa… but we started this visa-free and we have in other countries,” he said.
He said the “visa-free” idea was used first in “human trafficking.”
The foreign secretary also warned that visa-free and visa upon arrival could be a threat to national security.
“Visa-free, visa upon arrival, they are wrong. Every country is entitled to control their borders and we just gave it up. We have to stop that already,” Locsin said.
The DFA chief brought up the importance of requiring all foreigners to secure visa after Malacañang earlier threatened to impose visa to American citizens even if they would just visit the Philippines for a short period of time amid reported US policy banning Filipino government officials responsible for the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima.
Meanwhile, Locsin said the US Senate resolution that bars Filipino government officials to enter the American territory was not found in the US 2020 budget, which President Donald Trump recently signed.
“It’s a Senate resolution, it did not appear on the United States Appropriations Act,” he said.
He said he already sent a memo to the Office of President Rodrigo Duterte informing that there is no mention of entry ban in the US and the name of De Lima.
“We looked at the US Appropriations Act, there is no mention of denying visas to Filipinos and there is no mention of De Lima,” said Locsin.
However, he said the US Immigration officers can still stop Filipino officials from entering their country if they do not like how they look.
US Senator Patrick Leahy, along with Senator Richard Durbin, introduced a provision in the US 2020 national budget that prohibits entry into the US of Philippine government officials linked to the "wrongful imprisonment" of De Lima.
In retaliation, Duterte ordered the ban of Leahy and Durbin as well as Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts in entering the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo added the government would also require American citizens to secure visa before entering the Philippines if the US would impose the entry ban against the Filipino officials. Ella Dionisio/DMS