Philippines tightens screening of arriving foreigners claiming to have Filipino spouses


Posted at Aug 23 2020 03:10 PM

MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration has tightened the screening of foreigners seeking entry into the country by claiming to be married to Filipinos following reports of fake marriage certificates.

In a statement issued Sunday, the agency said two South Koreans were denied entry at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport last Aug. 17 for presenting fraudulent marriage certificates.

Immigration officers discovered that one of the South Koreans has not been to the Philippines, while the companion was out of the country on the date of his supposed marriage to a Filipina, according to Grifton Medina, acting chief of the bureau's port operations division.

The government revised its restrictions on the entry of foreign tourists by exempting those who are spouses of Filipinos, or have minor Filipino children or children with special needs, regardless of age, in the Philippines.

The restrictions were imposed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In ordering stricter screening protocols for arriving foreigners, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said, "It is not enough that they have entry visas, marriage and birth certificates in their possession."

Medina said foreigners may undergo a "secondary inspection" if there are inconsistencies in their answers to questions of Immigration officers.