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Life Philippines

A Word To The Wise; Being Polite Pays!

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Being Polite

In a message targetted at foreign visitors. BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said that not being polite had resulted in 133 individuals being refused entry or re-entry into the Philippines by immigration officers in 2018.
They displayed a range of arrogant, rude and disrespectful behavior.
This follows the 129 that were refused entry in 2017.

The Real Reasons

In a discussion with staff at the Bureau, in early 2018, I learned that the behavior ranged from disrespect to individual officers, comments about the flag, the President, and comments about perceived failings of Filipinos in general.
The full text of this years announcement can be found here.
While the text of the 2017 announcement can be found here.

Who Else?

These figures do not only include those turned back at the or expelled at the border, but include a number of other visitors who had been blacklisted after they have left the country following confrontations in field offices.


Blacklisting can be a permanent or time limited penalty.
A blacklisting for rudeness can be appealed, by sending a letter requesting removal from the blacklist, to the BI Commissioner. The person blacklisted must cite genuine reasons for the misconduct and apologize for it.

The Takeaways

There are two takeaways from these figures:

  • There are relatively few of us letting expats down. given that 5.8 million visitors came to the Philippines in 2018.
  • The low numbers also reflect the maximum tolerance policy of the Bureau, which if rescinded could result in significant increases in expulsions. So we should not get complacent.

It is also a timely reminder that we are guests here and as guests, we are here to enjoy, learn, and accept.
Our hosts are a relatively young independent nation. They have battled natural and man made disasters amid governance which is tribal, based on patronage rather than merit, and overtly corrupt, they hope for more again and again.
Yet compared historically with the worlds older nations The Philippines is doing a remarkable job.
Think of the US, New Zealand and Australia 75 years after independence, they were struggling as well.

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