A week ago, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) detained Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Meunier as she was about to leave the country. Meunier had been placed on the BI’s “watch list” because she was seen at a protest rally on the day President Aquino delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address, in July. Last Friday, the BI placed her in the bureau’s detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, and allowed her to leave for Canada, via Hong Kong, only on Sunday night. The one word to describe the BI’s actions? Outrageous.

Meunier is not the only visitor to suffer from the BI’s heavy-handed treatment of foreign protesters. A young Dutch activist, Thomas van Beersum, was also at the anti-Sona protests. He made the mistake of berating an antiriot policeman face to face; police officer Joselito Sevilla broke into tears but stood his ground. A photograph of the encounter went viral, and Beersum was roundly (and in our view correctly) criticized.

But criticism is one thing; detention, deportation or classification as an “undesirable alien” is another. Beersum was stopped at the airport on Aug. 6, detained and then allowed to leave the country only on the night of Aug. 7. He has been banned from reentering the Philippines.

The bureau’s OIC Commissioner Siegfred Mison defended the bureau’s actions on Beersum last month, and defended the steps taken against Meunier early this week. “As we have repeatedly stated, foreigners have no business joining these rallies as the act amounts to violating the conditions of their stay as tourists,” he said on Monday.

This is wrong, on so many levels. Let us highlight three ways in which Mison and the BI he leads are mistaken.

First, the policy is an unthinking resort to legalism. The charge leveled against foreign activists like Beersum and foreign observers like Meunier can be summarized in a simple phrase: partisan political activity. But the country’s statute books and jurisprudence are clear on the use of that phrase; it refers to election-related activity. Indeed, just last May, the immigration commissioner at the time issued a warning against foreigners who might engage in exactly that kind of partisan political activity: working for political parties, making contributions to candidates, and the like.

The protests that Beersum joined and Meunier observed cannot reasonably be classified as election-related activity. The bureau’s expansive definition of partisanship, then, is doubly dangerous; it has no sufficient legal warrant, and it encroaches on universal civil liberties.

Second, the policy is reflex chauvinism of the worst kind. We’ve welcomed foreign participation in rallies and demonstrations in other parts of the world concerning Philippine issues. (For instance, anti-Marcos protests in front of the White House in the 1980s, or demonstrations of support for Filipino veterans before the US Congress.)  Why shouldn’t foreigners join protest rallies here in the country, whether against the present administration or the pork barrel system or, indeed, any other nonelection-related issue? The Philippines is an open and democratic member of the international community—what are Mison and the BI afraid of?

Third, the policy is bureaucratic overkill. It refuses to make necessary and important distinctions; joining a protest rally is not the same as fomenting unrest, but the BI sees no difference between the two.

We obviously do not mean that there is no such thing as a dangerous visitor, who must be deported posthaste or banned from entry, or indeed arrested and tried when the circumstances call for it. But joining a protest rally should not qualify as a danger; exercising one’s rights to say what one wants to say about the Philippines should not be seen as a risk.

The policy, in sum, is counterdemocratic. Worse, it paints a portrait of the Philippines as a place where visitors lose their rights to free expression or to assembly simply because they are visiting. What are we, North Korea?

It is the BI’s policy that is undesirable.

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  • AlexanderAmproz

    Look at the map,
    the Philippines is on the middle of South East Asia,
    North Korea, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., well known for human right abuses, mass murders, enforced disappearances tortures, it’s the Ampatuan’s, Palparan, Eleco, Reyes Brothers, Napoles, Marcos, etc., home country. Corruptions, Journalists assassinations, extra judicial killings and the slavery by starvation is the rule.

    France is not only number one tourists destination, but the Human Rights country.

    To mistake the Philippines with a developed country could be a fatal mistake.

    What to expect from a country producing intentionally fake school text books to produce an errant population ?

    • Oscuro

      LoL – Have you been to France?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Time to time, average once a month, same with China, but not anymore in the Philippines, too Corrupt, unfair Slavery System, Lawless, Polluted, Health and Security hazardous, environment irrevocably destroyed, too dirty, a too failed country for me, instead of improvements its worst by the day.
        Same under Marcos, it became too trashy, EDSA was just a false hope, after Ramos it became a disaster.
        Anyway, foreigners only welcome to be rob by jealous xenophobe racists nationalists and abused by an administration to have to be avoided, frightening Criminal Politicians, rubout, etc.,
        The Gates of Hell…

        Poor Filipinos, what for a damnation to be born in a such country.

        In short, the Archipelago isn’t convenient for who can go around the world where he want when he likes, OFWs understood it !

      • Oscuro

        Really. Time to time, once a month? Which one is it. Liar.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Today it was twice in Switzerland and twice in France,
        no customs, 2 Km drive, it’s a free world compared to some others, an other Planet.

        You are saying you love your country,
        tell me why it’s totally ravaged, water, lands, sea’s, forests, endemic wild life, corral’s, mangroves, even Spanish time Churches, as soon as something nice is “Discovered” its mean spoliations will follow.

        One of the world nicest country and peoples totally ravages by civil wars and uncountable atrocities under “elites” and gang’s supervision.

        The country is a giant slum irrigated by rivers and esteros inspired by the Passig River influence and Manila Bay sea breeze, strangely, none solutions where found to steal or destroy the sunset, its what left untouched in Manila.

        The country is melting faster than snow under the sun,
        total destruction isn’t a sign of love, but rage.

        NB: Starvation and lack of medicines is by itself worst than slavery, food slavery is torture,
        Senators and Congressmen don’t care,
        they enjoy it at the election time circus.

      • Oscuro

        My oh my…..So you come here to gloat or are you concerned with your x-kabayans? or is it really.

        Anyway, I really do not try to dwell on the negative. So you enjoy demeaning the Philippines as much as you can.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        I am frustrated to see such a beautiful country under rapist’s destructions by pure greed, abuses, plain stupidity, an absolute folly with unfathomable consequences on any aspects.

      • Oscuro

        Well you just go ahead there boy and let us citizens solve it ourselves and you enjoy your Swiss Chocolates and foie gras.

        Criticisms are welcome but complaining and ranting isn’t. If you’re so concerned why not be pro-active instead of ranting over the internet.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        I was pro active during 30 years,
        seeing everything going down day by day
        i got feed up like most of your kabayan.
        The “System” need urgent changes.

        The best chocolate is tablia, with bico or puto maya, I miss it

      • Oscuro

        That’s the difference between you and me. I have the choice of permanently leaving too. But I’m still doing my best.

        You gave up.

        I don’t think I ever will.

        Choices are what makes us better. You think you’re better with your choice. I’m better with mine.

        Now go ahead and concern yourself with your socialist welfare state and leave the complaining and problem solving to us.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        This kind of comparison never came in my mind,
        “Your socialist welfare state” too, but permanent robbery at the expenses of the poorest and the environment destruction by the society most privileged and biggest crooks isn’t acceptable on any point of view, I translate it into the weakest death, children’s included.

        One example, most of the landslide origins is logging, JPE knows about it, even he is almost a mommy, still want to ravage the last remaining forests in Leyte to be the cemetery richest, more insane than that cannot be, first of all it’s the citizens who are the country owners, not a group of high flight rapists Criminal’s.
        Nothing is Christian or Democratic in this Pajero’s bishop’s and private armies Archipelago.

        Basic Justice don’t exist by the Gates of Hell.

        NB: I did uselessly my best during 30 Years, long enough for me to get tired to be surrounded by so many dangers of an entertained medieval cruel stupidity.

      • Oscuro

        And you think nobody is thinking about this except you? Do you think we don’t think about the same thing?

        As I said.

        You gave.

        Now it’s our turn

        So shut up.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Keep your servility if you love it,
        it’s only a question of dignity,
        an unknown notion by slaves countries.

      • Oscuro

        Now I let it out of you.

        It is not so much the government you hate but the society as a whole.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        You are really naive and lack of informations.

      • Oscuro

        LoL – You’re a Filipino pretending to be a foreigner.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Your school was smaller than my shoes…
        Fake schools text books have a disastrous impact on the society and peoples like you….

      • Oscuro

        Exactly and the you asked me if I was xenophobic, racist and ignorant.

        A servile race…..but you still love us?

        Passive aggressive or what else?

        Dude…thank you for being so superior to us in every shape or form. You certainly know better than everyone else.

        Activist in the Philippines for 30 years as a foreigner?

        What kind? As a priest?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        First of all, human “race” don’t exist, we are all human,
        nobody is “superior” than anybody else.
        I am not superior, but compared to you, better and easier knowledges access, time to time privileged info.

        Check on Wikipedia Democracy, Direct Democracy, Racism and Republic meanings, it’s basic.

        More knowledges you have, more you will discover how ignorant you are, the opposite is also true.

        Activist, I will agree 100% with them, but not interfere, aside that, none form of violence is acceptable.

        Priest, I respect and admire some of them like former Governor Panlilio or Pope Francis, but despising the former Pope or PCBP(Bought and Sold), religions isn’t my cup of tea, human and environment, yes, I belong to it.

        Without to notice, you are showing racism, discrimination and ignorance

      • Oscuro

        You’re the first one to cite race.

        And how am I racist and discriminatory? How?

        No you are a fake.

        Pinoy ka lang na nag papanggap.

        Atika ko noy…..bakakun ka abi nimo mutuo ko foreigner ka?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Never I will speak about race, impossible, but denouncing racism YES, the Philippines impregnated of it is

      • Oscuro

        What the hell are you talking about?

        You’re the one who opened race. It never even entered my mind. Then you call me a racist, xenophobic?

        You called me ignorant, slave & servile among others.

        You have done nothing else but to demean me and the Philippines and the society while claiming to be enlightened and what not, yet you can’t even write proper English.

        Really? Well traveled, highly intelligent pretender?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        No comments

      • Oscuro

        “dangers of an entertained medieval cruel stupidity.

        Keep your servility if you love it,
        it’s only a question of dignity,
        an unknown notion by slaves countries.”

        “The best chocolate is tablia, with bico or puto maya, I miss it” – coming from a guy who drives to and from Switzerland and France…

        From an insult:
        “Poor Filipinos, what for a damnation to be born in a such country.”

        :”Beware they can be dangerous scam experts for tourists,
        It’s the Country worst and most unsafe place for foreigners.”

        To Admiration or vice versa:
        “You can’t believe how many excellent friendship I have built in the Archipelago the last 30 years, how-many places I have been from Aparri to Tawi-Tawi. Your country is almost mine too..”

        There’s a lot of contradiction here boy. It’s too much passive aggressive behavior in your part. Go get a therapist. .

      • Rogelio Y. Dela Cruz

        Good for you! The Philippines may be ”a too failed country for you”, This is my country and I love it in here…and can you show me where the hell can we find a ”fair Slavery System”

        I may be poor, but I love being with my family and friends in this ”damned country”

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Wake up, if nothing is done rapidly, the country is gone,
        it’s a sinking raft with thief’s as crew.

        to love your country or not is another question
        to be rich or poor is also an other question

        AFP/PNP, Justice, Senate, Congress, Politician’s, Clergy, high Official’s cant anymore be trusted, the environment is destroyed and polluted, Manila and Cebu don’t have enough fresh water, the country is under OFWs remittances perfusion.
        Meanwhile the Philippines is a rich country, but can’t resist to too many wrong and permanent robbery.

        But still lucky to have a good President…

  • tarikan

    Mr. Beersum and Ms. Meunier, try it in China, hehehe. You will grow old together there.

  • FireEngine

    Much as I disagree with the politics of the 2 foreigners, I believe that the freedom of expressing one’s opinion in a peaceful manner should not be infringed. This situation is silly really. If it were a foreigner marching in support of the political party in power, I highly doubt that the BI would deport that person.

    If there is any partisanship on active display here, the BI should take a long hard look at its motivations for acting the way it did.

    • AlexanderAmproz

      BI used to do what they want.
      Beware they can be dangerous scam experts for tourists,
      It’s the Country worst and most unsafe place for foreigners.

      • Oscuro


      • AlexanderAmproz

        What experiments did you have ?
        Its already bad for a wealthy foreigner,
        what about a Pinoy without a golden Rolex,
        isn’t it a chicken or a pigeon ?

  • Oscuro

    This point is clear. The leftists/communists groups were allowed to assemble and allowed to protest and none would be arrested as long as it didn’t turn violent.

    Am I correct? – I think I am.

    Do we really need to bring in foreigners to make the protests more sensational?

    • AlexanderAmproz

      Theses foreigners had nothing to do at the rally, it’s bad taste,
      but BI attitude is plain stupidity, ask Lacson, Reyes Brothers in Vietnam, money scamer’s, Joc Joc Bollante and so many others, BI almost never do their job properly as long you don’t have the proper contacts. lol

      • Oscuro

        We’re not talking about those people aren’t we. The topic is – is it right for them to participate?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        The country is in shambles, a plain disaster,
        BI is in the same state than politics, AFP/PNP, etc.
        Many urgent measure have to be taken, the BI don’t care of the country concerned interests but how to grab money.
        To make big noise with two “innocent” cheap Charlie for self promotions with cheap Nationalism is grotesque at the best, specially for such a deliquescent untouchable office full of official crooks

      • Oscuro

        Well if you can do any better go there and tell them?

        In my opinion they did their jobs right.


      • AlexanderAmproz

        How many time did you where involved with them,
        just to know what about it’s going on in BI ?

      • Oscuro

        I’ve dealt with them once to issue a hold departure order for someone.

        Have you dealt with them?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        At last 200 times at the airport and 50 times in Manila intra muros and Mandaue/Cebu.
        Even I became friend with some top gun, never ask them any favor or accepted any. The last ten years, just used to live the country to avoid BI, two days with my HK friends is far better than hours of frustrations with the Philippines ugliest abusers I ever had to deal with.
        As I am a frequent traveler, it’s easy to do comparison’s in between countries and tag where the sticky fingers are.
        Too many bad experiences with RP BI, like nowhere else, Burma excepted, in some African countries it is the same, but not in the places I have been, but it could have happened.
        Thailand BI charming and helpful are, foreigners always welcome. What a difference with RP !

      • Oscuro

        I think our conversation has progressed way past the BI issue and into the territory of “comparisons” of society as a whole and as I have answered you just a few moments ago on another of your replies.

        I will repeat it here.

        It is not so much as hatred of the government and it’s institutions but you hatred of the Philippines as a society as a whole.

        I don’t know the veracity of your claims of a jetsetting lifestyle. However, as for me, having traveled most parts of the country as a civilian and in the army, and as an OFW for about 15 years which also gave me the opportunity to travel the developed Western nations as well. I can see your point of view. I too have had the experience of comparing the Philippines to places I have been. I do recognize the limitations and the severity of incompetence and mismanagement of the Philippines infrastructure as a whole.

        There is however a difference in the way we see things. While our travels have educated us in many ways and have envisioned us into thinking why how these systems work with them. Your method of thinking goes like this “IF IT WORKS WITH THEM IT SHOULD WORK WITH US”. While I go “HOW DOES IT APPLY TO OURS?”

        The company I worked for in Saudi had sent me to both Europe and the US for several months at a time from 2002-2006. I must admit that going back to the Philippines from a flight that originated in Paris or Dallas made me feel proud of myself and my accomplishment and for that I started saying things like….”mabuti pa sa US/Europe ganito gawa nila” or “kung nasa US pa lang tayo di mangyayari ito”… .Then as time grew I realized that it is not about forcing systems into our society but instead applying systems.

        What I’m really trying to say is…… remained “ARROGANT”.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Your analyze is up side down like your country.

        If I am wasting time to criticize its by interest and concern.
        You can’t believe how many excellent friendship I have built in the Archipelago the last 30 years, how-many places I have been from Aparri to Tawi-Tawi. Your country is almost mine too…

      • Oscuro

        I was assuming that you were Filipino all this time. Well now I just realized you’re pretending to be a foreigner. LoL.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Whats your Problem ?
        Racism, Xenophobia, Primitive Nationalism or Ignorances ?

      • Oscuro

        You’re the one using adjectives. Not me.

  • NYPinoy

    It insults our view that the Philippines is a country that observes universal human rights for the BI to take the extra time from their busy schedule to harass a tourist whose only violation is to attend a rally in the Philippines. The BI should have a lot more things to do than this.

    • Oscuro

      The one on quotation marks is from another poster here. And my replies follow.

      “but it is far from an isolated community that only answers to its constituency. You folks say that “its an internal issue”, but nothing nowadays is ever internal.”

      That is why AMERICA – (el policia del mundo) is justified to enter into the Syrian Civil War. Because Syria is part of the international community.

      Therefore it is also justified for the Philippines and Filipino citizens to go to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and join in the street rally for greater democracy.

      You are right. Therefore I shall book a flight to Jeddah tomorrow and protest there why Christians are not allowed into Mecca.

      Good idea wonderdog.

  • Gu3st

    i totally agree with this column.. freedom of expression should be universal as long as it they are expressed in a peaceful manner…

    • Oscuro

      So you agree in letting foreigners come to the country and express their freedom of speech particularly in local politics?

      Therefore, I should be justified in going to other countries like the USA, China, Saudi Arabia etc. and protest them as well.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Why did you chose the worst countries for comparison’s with RP ?
        Burma BI worst than RP are, but it’s the only one among the 60 countries I have been.
        At least China, Saudi and the US BI honest are, even if some of their politic behavior aren’t acceptable.

      • Oscuro

        Have you been to these countries? Specially China and Saudi Arabia?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Many times a year, I now quiet well theses two countries where I am used to go regularly, but have much more experiments with the Philippines where it was almost my home.
        Sorry for late answer, out to Basel and Strasbourg for the weekend.

        NB: My Saudi contact has thousand’s employees since long time, recently he told me, “Finally, after so many years of experiments, Filipinos are the best and hardest workers”
        Maybe you where among them…

      • Oscuro

        Wow—-the passive aggressive. After trying to make pretend to be a Filipino, now you’re telling me you’re actually a foreigner?

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Never said I am a Filipino, but probably knowing about the country, history, peoples, politics more than most Filipino’s. Always care a lot about Pinoy’s, the Environment and the Country.
        It was long time one of my main interest, while almost none Filipino cares about it(looking for food and survival without knowledges access), few PDI columnists excepted, like Patricia Evangelista, CDQ, and the wonderful Juan Mercado.
        Patriotism notions don’t exist in this country, only a primitive and destructive blind Nationalism tainted with xenophobia, racism.
        Natives exterminations for logging, land grabbing and mining purposes for the filthy rich Oligarchy, some Marcos former General’s and dummies alike Consunji, Danding Cojuengco, JPE, Licio Tan and al.
        Among the 60 countries I have been, it’s probably the most unfair toward the masses and the worst for the Environment(The life support)
        Fake Justice, AFP/PNP, Private Armies, the main ad nauseam tools under the 40 “Families” and Politicians, maybe the World worst drowning one of the most gifted country.

      • Gu3st


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