01/24/2009 [ manilatimes.net ]
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) opened yesterday in Cabanatuan City its sixth satellite office in ceremonies led by Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan and attended by local officials of the province of Nueva Ecija.
“This brings closer the Bureau of Immigration to the people it serves,” Libanan said in opening the latest BI office intended to serve the north provinces of Luzon.
Also on hand to witness the occasion were Cabanatuan City Mayor Alvin Vergara, Vice Mayor Marius Garcia, city government officials and invited guests from government and private sectors.
Libanan and Vergara later signed a Memorandum of Agreement wherein they pledged to work together and cooperate in launching an information drive to encourage foreigners in the area to comply with the country’s immigration laws.
Libanan said the new satellite office was established to make the BI more accessible to foreigners living in Cabanatuan and all its neighboring cities, towns and provinces in Central Luzon.
The BI chief noted that over the last few years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of foreigners in Central Luzon, including tourists who are there for pleasure and investors who go into business that provide jobs and livelihood opportunities for local residents.
Libanan said the Cabanatuan office will complement the already existing BI field offices in other parts of Central Luzon, particularly those in the cities of Angeles and Olongapo.
Thus, he said foreigners near Cabanatuan need no longer travel all the way to Manila or to Clark or Subic to have their immigration papers processed.
According to BI Associate Commissioner Roy Almoro, there have been reports of the increasing number of foreigners in Nueva Ecija, particularly Chinese and Indians, whose presence and activities have to be monitored and regulated to ensure that they do not violate Philippine immigration laws.
Almoro said the opening of the new satellite office will definitely encourage these foreigners, especially the tourists, to always update their visas and pay the necessary fees to the government.
The BI-Cabanatuan office was opened a few months after the bureau put up four similar satellite offices in Taytay, Rizal; Sta. Rosa City, Laguna; Caloocan City, and the Chinatown Mall in Parañaque City.
Almoro said another satellite office will soon be established in Quezon City for the benefit of foreigners living in the country’s biggest city. Conrado Ching