Immigration cracks down on illegal foreign traders

By Jeannette Andrade
Inquirer
Last updated 10:40pm (Mla time) 07/18/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration said Wednesday it will crack down on foreign retailers who continue to violate the retail trade liberalization law.

 

“We are warning them to stop plying their illegal businesses or we will have no choice but to arrest and deport them,” said Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan.

 

He pointed out that his agency, tasked to enforce immigration laws, cannot allow foreigners to violate the retail trade liberalization law, which requires them to put up a minimum capital of US$2.5 million to engage in retail in the country.

 

Libanan clarified that the move was not intended to single out Koreans, following South Korea’s suspension of visas for overseas Filipino workers (OFW). He pointed out that the bureau estimates there are 90,000 Korean retailers nationwide.

 

Nevertheless, Libanan asked the South Korean Embassy to identify immigration officials allegedly involved in harassing and extorting money from Koreans in the country and to prove the accusation instead of getting back at the Philippines by suspending the issuance of visas to overseas Filipino workers.

 

“I urge them to file their complaints with our office instead of retaliating against our OFWs. That is not fair,” Libanan said.

 

He disclosed that he has tasked Immigration Associate Commissioner Roy Almoro to investigate the complaints, emphasizing that he will not tolerate abusive and corrupt practices in his agency, which has led to the dismissal of at least five employees in May.

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