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JULY 10, 2012 DATE

NR # 2796

Lawmaker wants to legalize aliens in the country

Foreign nationals who entered and stayed in the country illegally will soon be granted legal residence status under a bill amending Commonwealth Act 613 or the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), authors of the measure, said foreigners who have entered the Philippines prior to June 30, 2000 can avail of the bill if enacted into law. Rodriguez said the bill will also address the problem on illegal aliens who are engaged in criminal activities in the country. The bill will also shield the Philippines from foreign criminal elements using the country's territory to engage in terrorism, human smuggling and trafficking and other criminal activities, Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said the bill promotes international order and justice by denying aliens the use of Philippine territory in promoting terrorist and other criminal activities. The purpose of this bill is to mandate the immigration agency to run after undesirable aliens, who, because of their nefarious activities in the country, pose a clear and present danger to national security, public safety, public health and national interest, Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said there is a need to adopt clearer but stricter rules and regulations on immigration to protect the security and safety of the Filipino people without jeopardizing government efforts to attract foreign legitimate investors and tourists. Under the bill, aliens who stayed in the country illegally and who have entered the country prior to June 30, 2000, excluding those who already availed in good faith of the benefits of Executive Order 324 and Republic Act 7919 whose application has been duly approved will be granted legal residence status upon compliance with the provisions of the proposed act. The bill seeks to define the country's immigration policy to foreigners who wish to come, thereby legalizing their stay in the Philippines through a process that would be less expensive, more practical, more humanitarian and, in the long run, more mutually beneficial to them and their host country, Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said the government also stands to benefit in terms of revenues in the form of application fees and other related fees, which, in turn, can be used to support the numerous projects and services of the government. The bill provides that those who seek entry into the country, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, are subject to standards of admission, which do not discriminate in a manner consistent with internationally recognized human rights and freedoms. (30) dpt