Korean embassy to stop accepting OFW visa applications
In retaliation for alleged BI extortion
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Starting July 16, the Korean embassy here will stop accepting visa applications of Filipino workers in retaliation for alleged extortion by immigration officials of Koreans in the Philippines.
The suspension is indefinite until the Philippine government acts on the complaints of the embassy.
INQUIRER.net tried to contact immigration commissioner Marcelino Libanan for comment but he was not answering his phone.
The Department of Foreign Affairs would also not comment until it receives official notice of the suspension.
INQUIRER.net section editor Joey Alarilla, who was at the embassy, said the suspension was announced over the embassy’s public address system.
Lee Keon Ju, of the Korean embassy’s visa section, confirmed the suspension and said its lifting would depend on the action of the immigration officials on their complaints.
A Filipino employee in the embassy who asked not to be named as she is not authorized to give out the information also confirmed the suspension.
“It is in reaction to the numerous harassments of BI [Bureau of Immigration] officials over the past two weeks. Our consul has been coordinating with the BI on the extortion but there has not been any positive response,” she said.
She said about 200 Filipino workers, mostly seamen and entertainers, apply for working visas with the Korean embassy every day.
Asked if visa applications already received would still be processed, the Filipino workers at the Korean embassy said she had no idea as they have been given no instructions on this.
The embassy receives some 100 tourist visa applications every day. These applications, she said, would continue to be processed by the embassy.