New travel guidelines violate rights, OFWs say

Migrant Filipinos are opposing the government’s new travel guidelines, saying the additional requirements violate the people’s right to travel.

In a statement, Migrante International (MI) said the new policy imposed by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) requiring Filipinos going abroad to present more documents to immigration officials is misguided and should be junked immediately.

The policy adds to the already considerable state exactions that have been imposed on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and all migrant Filipinos, MI chairperson Joanna Concepcion said in a statement.

In its announcement of the new policy, the IACAT said that it does not intend “to encroach upon the fundamental right to travel” but to combat human trafficking.

IACAT explained that it has revised the departure protocols to “combat the grave menace of human trafficking.”


But Concepcion said the imposition of so many documentary requirements for travel violates the Filipinos’ right to travel and may increase the element of arbitrariness in immigration officials’ decisions.

Intention is one thing and effect is another,” Concepcion said, adding “the fight against human trafficking does not justify this violation.”

READ: ‘Yearbook requirement’ at Manila airport? Filipino tourist wears full graduation attire instead

MI said that the IACAT did not seem to take into account that the Philippines is a top labor exporter and the new policy is sure to fail a rights-based examination.

It added that the IACAT came up with the policy unilaterally as no consultation with the vibrant and vocal community of migrant organizations and civil society organizations has been reported.

“We seriously doubt the IACAT’s optimism that the new policy will cause a palpable reduction, if not outright elimination, of human trafficking incidents,” Concepcion said.

“The new policy puts the burden of fighting human trafficking on individual Filipinos, not on the government or human traffickers and their syndicates,” she added.

Concepcion said the IACT should concentrate on swift government action on human trafficking cases, such as the student visa scam for travel to Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia.

“The new policy leaves unaddressed the material conditions enabling human trafficking — widespread joblessness, landlessness and poverty in the Philippines,” Concepcion said.

“In fact, the Bongbong Marcos regime has intensified the government’s labor export program and has done nothing to provide immediate relief — from soaring prices of basic goods and services for example — to Filipinos, let alone create the foundations for job creation at home,” the OFW leader added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Yearbook requirement’ at Manila airport? Filipino tourist wears full graduation attire instead

The traveler said the parody was not aimed at mocking anyone but to highlight the ‘unreasonable stringent screening at the Philippine immigration’

By Angel L. Tesorero / Khaleej Times

After the reported fiasco of a Filipina tourist being asked lengthy and ‘unreasonable’ questions, including a demand to present her 10-year old-graduation yearbook, at the Philippine immigration, a 25-year-old vlogger and Filipino tourist arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on Friday wearing a toga or academic regalia worn in graduation ceremonies.

“It was not meant to ridicule immigration officials but to highlight the fact that some Filipino tourists were held unreasonably at the airport and barred from leaving the country,” Jim Morales said.

“Someone brought a diploma; so, I brought a toga to be different,” added Morales, who came to the airport wearing a black toga and a mortarboard cap with a tassel while holding his luggage.

He posted his photo on his personal Facebook account and it immediately went viral, gaining around 3,000 funny reactions, and was shared over 1,300 times, with some people commenting: “It may look funny but it was [a commentary] on ‘ridiculous’ immigration officials. They asked for a graduation yearbook, and here’s someone who came in toga.”

Morales clarified he did not wear the attire at the immigration counter but he had made his point. “They might be offended,” he added in jest, but firmly explaining the parody was not aimed at mocking anyone but to highlight the “unreasonable stringent screening at the Philippine immigration.”

Update: ‘He graduated’

In keeping up with the humor, Morales posted a fresh photo of him on Saturday morning reaching his destination in Japan. Like in a graduation ceremony, he tossed the mortarboard cap and smiled gleefully while holding a ‘diploma’.

In his post, he wrote the caption translated as: “When you have surpassed the questioning of immigration authorities in the Philippines.”


Meanwhile, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) has earlier clarified that Filipino tourists don’t need to bring their yearbooks to the airport. They also issued an apology and explained they were “constrained to implement strict measures to assess departing passengers” as part of their task to combat human trafficking.

According to Philippine Bureau of Immigration, a total of 32,404 Filipinos were deferred from departure last year. Of these, however, only 472 were reported to be victims of human trafficking or illegal recruitment, while 873 had produced fraudulent documents, and 10 travelers were found to be minors who sought to work abroad.

Dubai-based travel professional, Geoffrey Salatan, who is managing director at MRG Pinas Travel, said he had seen a lot of Filipinos who were denied from going abroad.

“Being offloaded from a flight is not only frustrating but also financially draining. Imagine how much time, money and effort these passengers have put into planning their journey, only to be stopped from boarding a plane?,” he added. #

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This March 25, 2023 report is original to Khaleej Times, republished with permission from the author.

Philippines’ ‘Paradis Island’ has a message for ‘Attack on Titan’ fans

‘We have nothing to do with Titans’

By Mong Palatino / Global Voices

Paradis Island PH is a vacation resort in the Philippines and it has no connection with the Paradis Island in the popular manga and anime series “Attack on Titan” (進撃の巨人). To make that clear, Paradis Island PH created a Facebook post assuring readers and potential visitors that there were no “titans” at the resort—and the tongue-in-cheek post quickly went viral.

The island resort is in Lake Lumot, Cavinti, located in Laguna province, south of the capital region of Metro Manila. It offers recreational activities for those who want to rent the villas on the “eco-friendly and unspoiled” private island.

Meanwhile, the Paradis Island of “Attack on Titan” is where the Eldian people have relocated and built gigantic walls as protection against giants, the “titans.” The original Japanese manga series is written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, and the animated version of the series is currently wildly popular around the world.

This year marks the final season of the series and this probably led more people to look for information about the manga, including the setting of the story on “Paradis Island.”

Paradis Island PH acknowledged the coincidence of sharing a name with an island in a popular manga and used this to post a light-hearted disclaimer on Facebook:

Disclaimer: News is spreading online that the Founding Titan is in Paradis Island PH and that we are hiding it. For those who do not know, the Founding Titan is already with Eren Yeager, including the Attack Titan and War Hammer Titan.

We are an innocent island in a lake in Laguna and we have nothing to do with Titans. You can book events with us during the summer, we assure you that your stay will be fun and enjoyable (and no Titans will disturb you)

The Philippines’ Paradis Island. Not to be confused with Attack on Titan’s ‘Paradis Island’. Screenshot of Google Map

This post became popular and was widely shared by netizens especially those who know the manga and anime series. A local news website also published a story about the viral social media disclaimer.

Another Facebook post by the resort has also gained popularity. It refers to the soundtrack of the anime which features the Japanese word sasageyo (捧げよ, calling upon another to sacrifice oneself in battle).

Reminder to fellow citizens:

We recently learned that many are inquiring and interested to visit the lake and Paradis. We are begging you, refrain from being noisy and don’t shout “SASAGEYO SASAGEYO” if you are in the lake. It is scaring our guests and caretakers. If this persists, we will have no choice and be forced to build walls on Paradis Island.

We expect more hilarious social media updates from Paradis Island PH alluding to “Attack on Titan” especially as the series will continue to publish and air more episodes until April. #

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Kodao publishes Global Voices articles as part of a content-sharing agreement.