MANILA, Philippines – Around 6,000 names have been removed from the hold departure list and watchlist of the Bureau of Immigration.
In a press statement, the BI said the move was in connection with the directive of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to sanitize the bureau’s record and purge it of expired and obsolete derogatory orders.
“We hope that as a result of this cleansing process, fewer people will be inconvenienced at the airports and prevented from leaving because their names happen to be in our derogatory list,” said BI Commissioner Ricardo David.
The orders were previously issued by the BI against individuals who were subjects of criminal and administrative complaints before the bureau or the Department of Justice (DOJ).
David said that as of June 12, 2011, the bureau has already lifted 810 hold departure orders (HDOs) and 5,005 watchlist orders (WLOs) from its database.
The BI chief clarified that HDOs and WLOs which are subjects of pending court litigations will not be lifted.
David urges the public to visit the bureau's website, www.immigration.gov.ph to view the list as he already instructed the Computer Section to upload the list of the individuals with HDO or in the watchlist.
According to BI Law and Investigation Division (LID) chief Arvin Santos, only HDOs and WLOs issued by the DOJ and BI are covered by the DOJ directive and not those issued by the courts.
Santos said that pursuant to De Lima's instructions, all watchlist orders issued before May 25, 2010 are considered expired and may now be lifted or cancelled.
On the other hand, HDOs which have lasted for five years or more from the date of issuance was also be lifted, Santos added.
Santos also bared that 18 HDOs and 19 watchlist orders issued by the DOJ as well as 4,465 HDOs and 9,853 watchlist orders issued by the BI are currently being reviewed to determine if these may be lifted or retained if these are related to pending cases.