Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

Spotlight is on the Bureau of Immigration

Feb 14, 2023, 12:58 AM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia


In years past, the Bureau of Immigration was hardly in the news. It seemed like nothing was being done there except the BI agents in the airports, who occasionally get written about—positively or negatively.

Nowadays, though, the BI under Commissioner Norman Tansingco seems to be getting things done so fast and he has been showing that he is a man of action—first he raided the BI warden facility in Taguig where they hauled substantial contraband items there, next he sought the reorganization of the maze at the Ports Operation Division and then all flash bulbs and mighty pens are trained on the successful deportation of two Japanese fugitives last Tuesday.

The raid done last January 30 by the BI’s intelligence division, along with the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), on the warden facility located at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City revealed that some foreign detainees were getting VIP treatment.

Seized during the raid were cellphones, gadgets and other amenities being used without the approval of the BI commissioner, in violation of the rules.

The raid was triggered by reports that one of four Japanese nationals in detention there was actually “Luffy,” the alleged brains behind the series of big-time robberies in Japan and who was believed to be operating remotely while in detention. Luffy by the way is being hunted by the Japanese police for quite some time now.

Another positive outcome of the raid was the confirmation that fugitives and non-fugitives were co-mingling at the facility. There were fugitives from the law in their native countries and those who are detained for only violating the Philippine immigration laws. Their living together in one detention space clearly does not make for a positive holding arrangement.

Commissioner Tansingco was correct in overhauling the team handling operations at the BIWF while enhancing security at the country’s only major holding center for deportees. He relieved the chief of the detention facility, including 35 other personnel, and reassigned them to other back-end offices pending investigation.

Tansingco was assigned in his post only last December although he has been with the BI. He said he has instructed the new management of the BIWF to implement improvements in the facility, and to ensure that no such incident occurs in the future. He also warned that those found remiss in their duty will definitely face administrative charges under his watch.

On deporting undesirable aliens, I think it was also under this administration that the overstaying and undocumented Chinese employees working in POGOs were deported.

But in the previous dispensation, how come I heard no such deportations before, and even the last two fugitives from Japan, they had been the object of manhunt in past years, but they were only deported now.

Is it because that the head of BI now is more resolute and follows the immigration and alien deportation laws more religiously than his predecessors. Just wondering.

The two Japanese who were deported late Wednesday night of February 8—Tomonobu Saito and Yuki Watanabe-- were escorted by Filipino lawmen right inside their plane Japan Airlines Flight 078 just to make sure they can’t escape this time.

On a lighter note, here is fond greeting for everyone on Valentine's Day tomorrow. Enjoy and love each other always, as God has commanded us.

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