Can You Afford to Travel?

Friends know I loooove to travel. I mean, love is even an understatement. More often than not, I prefer to travel to a foreign country instead of traveling locally. 

I know! Love your own and it’s more fun in the Philippines! Just indulge me on this one. šŸ˜€

When news came out that the Bureau of Immigration would now be requiring tourists to present proof that they are financially capable of traveling, I was so pissed! Here’s what the article stated:

Under the guidelines, tourists must prove their financial capability for the trip, present proof of work or support in the Philippines, or submit an affidavit of support if they are visiting relatives overseas, to prevent being offloaded from flights.

Are you kidding me? 

It’s annoying enough when the immigration officer asks me where I work. As in, gusto yung company name at kung ano ang office designation ko. It’s not enough that I write ’employee’ in the immigration card. Now this?

Jenny of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom said the directive is a violation of existing laws:

Article III Section 6 of the Philippine Constitution provides, in part, that the right to travel shall not be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

Edwin Lacierda, Malacanang’s official spokesperson, made a series of tweets regarding this:

This move reeks of discrimination. If you look like you can’t afford, will you be asked to provide proof of financial capability? Paano kung napapangitan sa iyo yung immigration officer? Will all Filipino tourists be required to show proof? So paano na ang pila sa immigration?

Nakakainis yung idea na we are being profiled. Mukhang di mo afford magbiyahe, pahinging documents. What gives?!

I was really glad with the news that Filipinos no longer need to fill up immigration cards when leaving the country. Every single time, yung area before the immigration officer, ang kalat-kalat at ang daming tao kasi passengers are filling up those forms.

But with this new directive that tourists would be required to show proof of financial capability, I can imagine the longer lines sa immigration.

Lacierda said the directive is to prevent human trafficking and illegal overseas workers. I get it but is this really the best way to do it?

If I want to work abroad illegally, it’s so easy to fake papers. If I were a teacher who wants to work as domestic helper in Hong Kong, I can deposit some money in the bank and ask for the bank certificate. I would still be able to produce a certificate of employment since I can just ask the school I’m working for (eh di mag-AWOL ako sa school). Para-paraan lang yan.

Seriously, sana pag-isipang mabuti.

It seems the Bureau of Immigration did a turnaround. An ABS-CBN article stated,

Filipinos who wish to travel abroad either as tourists or overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are not required to show proof of financial capacity before they are allowed to leave, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) clarified on Saturday…

Those who wish to travel abroad only need to present their complete travel documents, particularly their passport and other documents issued by a foreign country such as a tourist or working visa, before they are allowed to leave.

This is contrary to the earlier report from GMA (see quoted paragraph above). Someone’s lying. Someone’s not thinking straight. Kainis.