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Thread: Immigration problems - CFO counseling and guidance certificate

  1. #1
    Rhoody is offline DI Member
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    Exclamation Immigration problems - CFO counseling and guidance certificate

    Following a rather long copy/paste from a recent happening at Clark Immigration:

    On April 26, 2012 my Filipina girlfriend and I were scheduled to fly to Hong Kong from Clark International Airport. After checking in for the flight and paying our departure taxes we proceeded to the Immigration counter. My girlfriend went to the counter first and provided her passport and round trip ticket documentation for the flight.

    A counter Immigration official asked my girlfriend if she was traveling alone. She responded that she was traveling to Hong Kong with her boyfriend. I was asked to join her and once there he began asking further questions to my girlfriend. He asked her, “How many days have you been with your boyfriend? Do we live together? How long have you been living together? Where did you meet? And how many times have the two of us traveled together?”

    After my girlfriend answered his questions satisfactorily he stamped and signed her passport, authorizing her for departure. He then asked for my passport which I provided. At this point he still had my girlfriend’s passport so was in possession of both our passports, round trip flight information and boarding passes. While he was processing my passport I asked the immigration officer why he asked my girlfriend so many personal questions. The immigration officer replied that this was standard operating procedure. I said that I understand but was only asking because I am the President of the Clark Investors Locators Association and that I was inquiring as to their policies in regards to complaints from members and locators who have had issues with the Immigration process here at Clark Airport. I asked the immigration officer if it was common practice to ask personal questions to female Filipinos traveling with the proper documentation. This time the immigration officer did not respond, instead he said that my girlfriend was now required to stay for a secondary screening interview and was not allowed to go to the pre-departure area. I was told that I must continue to the pre-departure area and was not allowed to stay or wait with my girlfriend.

    My girlfriend was told to sit down at the Immigration area. She was given the Border Control Questionnaire and told that she needed to fill it out. My girlfriend filled out the form to the best of her ability and provided it to one of the Immigration officers. The officer returned the form to my girlfriend and told her that she needed to include the value of the airline ticket on the form. My girlfriend told him that she was not aware of the cost for the ticket because her boyfriend was the one who purchased the ticket. The officer told her to leave it blank if she did not know. He told her to put the date and flight number and then took the form from her. This officer took the form and went into the back office. My girlfriend was then asked to speak with another Immigration officer to go over her questionnaire.

    Another immigration officer conducted my girlfriend’s secondary inspection. During this interview and review of the Border Control Questionnaire which she had just filled out, the immigration officer was unprofessional and rude. Specifically in the way he told my girlfriend to sit down at the beginning of the interview and also during the review of the questionnaire when he told her “not to play hardball with him and that she wasn’t going anywhere with that”. The immigration officer was adversarial and aggressive with my girlfriend, purposely trying to intimidate her during the interview. During the interview he asked her about her about her parents and siblings, employment, school, financial situation, civil status, and relationship with me. The immigration officer then as if she was enrolled in school. My girlfriend said she was enrolled at Systems Plus College. He then asked her for a student ID. My girlfriend told him that she did not have an ID because she had just enrolled and her program did not officially start until June. The immigration officer then asked her for papers to prove her enrollment. My girlfriend told him that she didn’t bring her enrollment papers with her because in all of the other times she has travelled with me she has never been asked for further documentation such as proof of enrollment. Later in the interview immigration officer asked her how much money she had on her person. My girlfriend told him that she didn’t have any money on her because she had just paid her Filipino departure tax and airport tax. She also told him that she had her ATM and credit card with her so she did have access to money. She further explained to the immigration office that I, her boyfriend, had several thousand Hong Kong dollars with me. After finishing the interview the immigration officer took my girlfriend’s passport and had another officer make a photocopy of it. The immigration officer then took the copy of her passport and stapled it to the Border Control Questionnaire and then had a conversation with several other Immigration officers nearby. During this conversation my girlfriend could hear what the immigration officers were saying. My girlfriend overheard “see this paper, I can slap this to the guy who was talking back”. This conversation took place in Tagalog and the actual words spoken were “ itong mga papel na hawak ko pang sampal sa mga taong sumasagot at walang galang katulad noong sumasagot. Mga papel na ganito magandang pang sampal sa mga taong gaya doon”. Additionally, the secondary immigration officer spoke with the initial Immigration officer at the counter who initially stamped, signed and approved my girlfriend’s for departure. He asked the initial officer, “Did you stamp this”, referring for to my girlfriend’s passport. He then asked “was it done”. He replied “yes, that it was done”. To which the secondary immigration officer said “Just wait, I will talk with you later”.

    Another female immigration officer who refused to provide her name or identification was involved in the processing and handling of my girlfriend’s secondary inspection. After the secondary immigration officer conducted the interview and my girlfriend filled out the Border Control Questionnaire, he provided the forms to this woman who told my girlfriend she “was not allowed to travel”. When my girlfriend asked why she was not allowed to travel the female officer told her that secondary immigration officer said my girlfriend could not travel but neither the secondary immigration officer or the female officer provided any rationale or explanation to My girlfriend. My girlfriend continued to ask why she was not allowed to travel. The female officer said that my girlfriend was lacking the required, specifically a Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Guidance & Counseling Certificate of Attendance. My girlfriend asked her where she could get the CFO Counseling Certificate and other required documentation and the woman refused to provide her with any information or answers. This woman did not go over the decision to not allow my girlfriend to travel, nor did she explain the rationale behind the decision. In fact, none of the Immigration officials provided my girlfriend with the common courtesy of explaining the decision or providing any explanation. She was only told that she needed the CFO certificate. My girlfriend tried to explain that she has never heard of this form nor had she ever been required to provide this form despite traveling extensively. My girlfriend has traveled with me to Singapore on 3 different occasions without requiring this form. She has also traveled on her own to Hong Kong without the need for any further documentation beyond her passport and return ticket. Additionally, my girlfriend has travelled to Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada, and China with her previous boyfriend without ever providing this CFO form or any other documentation. At this point, my girlfriend asked if I could come back to the immigration area and speak with this female officer regarding the documentation and decision, but was told that there was no need to talk because there was nothing I could do. This female Immigration officer was also disrespectful to me, telling me that “you’re a foreigner and not supposed to question my authority”.

    When I was allowed to come back to the Immigration area from the pre-departure area, both, initial counter and secondary immigration officers had already left the area. I first spoke with the female immigration officer who refused to identify herself or provide her name and asked to speak with the supervisory who made the decision regarding My girlfriend’s ability to travel. I was told by the female officer that there was no one I could talk to and nothing that could be done, the decision was already made, and that we needed to leave. This officer repeatedly told us that we needed to leave and there was no one that we could speak to. I continued to explain that I needed to speak with someone in charge who could explain the decision that was made. I told her that we would not leave until speaking with someone who would explain the decision and go over the paperwork. Only after walking into the back office where several Immigration officers were talking was I able to get the attention of anyone. It was at this point that another immigration officer came out and spoke with me. She had the Border Control Questionnaire with her but would not allow my girlfriend or myself to see the form. She too was very disrespectful and unprofessional. The last immigration officer told me several times that I am arrogant and that I was in fact harassing the immigration officials despite the fact that I was simply trying to get an explanation for why my girlfriend was denied after already being approved.


    The final immigration officer and the unidentified female Immigration officer were the two main Immigration representatives that we spoke with. The final immigration officer told us that my girlfriend was denied because she did not have a CFO counseling and guidance certificate. The final immigration officer said that the CFO certificate was a requirement that all Filipinos must have for travel. The final immigration officer provided a copy of the regulation which she stated was the basis for denying my girlfriend to travel.

    This regulation states:

    2.2 Any passenger/traveler who will be subjected for a secondary inspection shall be required to accomplish the bureau of Immigration Border Control Questionnaire to be furnished by the Immigration Officer
    2.3 However, the following shall automatically be subjected to secondary inspection:
    D) Partners and spouses of foreign nationals intending to depart to meet and/or marry his/her fiancé without the CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate.

    The final immigration officer could not explain why my girlfriend was initially approved without being asked for this form. She could not explain why we have never had to provide this form in our past travel together. She basically refused to explain anything. When I asked her for a copy of the Border Control Questionnaire she refused to provide me with a copy. She did not state whether this was against policy, she just refused. I had to argue with her for several minutes in order to see the form so that I could see what the secondary immigration officer wrote in the remarks section for why he denied my girlfriend’s departure. His comments were terse, stating that my girlfriend did not have the proper documentation to travel with a foreigner who is a Clark Special Working Visa holder. The fact that these immigration officers knew my status as a special working visa holder for Clark versus a normal tourist makes the rationale for this decision even more disturbing. I was never given an opportunity to speak with any of the immigration officials to confirm the information my girlfriend provided, nor was I given the opportunity to provide further corroboration.

    It is my view that my girlfriend was denied the ability to travel as retribution for the questions which I asked final immigration officer. This was an instance of personal retribution against me for daring to speak to final immigration officer about the immigration policies followed at Clark airport. There is no way to explain why after stamping, signing, and approving her passport for departure she was subjected to a secondary review.
    I just wanted to post that, as I am sure some long-term tourists as well as expats might be unaware of that CFO counseling and guidance certificate and the problems one can run into.

  2. #2
    Steve4910 is offline DI Member
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    Sounds to me like you should of kept your big mouth shut and continued on your trip. Don't stir up sh*t because you will make it stink more. It seems like you managed to piss off those immigration officials and they decided to screw with you by not allowing you to take your girlfriend with you. Don't you know that there is a lot of sex trafficking going on at that airport? A bunch of Koreans and Chinese got busted for trying to bring protitutes out of the country using Clark airport. Next time shut up,smile a lot and be polite. I assume that you were not the victim Rhoody so this messege does not apply to you buddy.




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    Rhoody is offline DI Member
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    the story continues:

    UNUSUAL DELUSION OF POWER
    Clark BI officers hit for alleged abuses

    CLARK FREEPORT
    – The president of the Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) here decried yesterday alleged abuses committed against him and his girlfriend by personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Clark International Airport (CIA) here.

    CILA President Jeff Pradhan, director for business development of Peregrine International, said he dropped plans for a business-related trip last Thursday after his girlfriend, Marites Rosales, 26, was off-loaded from their Tiger Airways flight to Hong Kong even after her passport was already stamped for departure.

    Guy Hilbero, tourism department chief of Mabalacat, Pampanga which covers the airport here, urged Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. to look into the case which, he stressed, “does not seem isolated.”

    “Some Immigration officers at the airport seem to have developed an unusual delusion of power that they now wield arbitrarily. It’s getting to be scandalous and will eventually affect tourism,” he said.

    Punto tried to get the side of Immigration officials at the airport, but no one was available. The operations chief of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) could also not be reached.

    Pradhan said he and Rosales were bound for Hong Kong to witness a boxing bout upon the invitation of international boxing referee Bruce MacTavish. He said the trip was related to his firm’s plans to launch boxing promotional packages here.

    Rosales said he was ahead of Pradhan at a counter line 8 a.m. last Thursday when an Immigration personnel they identified as Omar Yunus asked about “personal matters”, including her relationship with Pradhan before stamping her passport for departure.

    Introducing himself as from CILA, Pradhan said he inquired from Yunus why Rosales was asked personal questions.

    “That was when all the Immigration people there started being confrontational from beginning to end.

    Most of the Immigration personnel refused to identify themselves and we came to know of their identities only from their name tags whom some of them tried to cover,” Pradhan said.

    Pradhan said his query apparently infuriated Yunus who told him to go to the pre-departure area and leave behind his girlfriend.

    Rosales said that while her passport was already stamped for departure, Yunus again told her to fill up a form, but she failed to state how much her plane ticket cost as Pradhan had paid for it.

    Rosales said she was then told to go to the desk of another Immigration personnel she and her boyfriend later came to know as one Jeffrey Pinpin. She said Pinpin again asked her about her family and documents about her being a local student.

    “I had been abroad before and I was never asked to produce such documents, so I said I did not carry such documents at that time,” Rosales said.

    She said another Immigration personnel, a woman who covered her identification card on her breast when asked to be identified, demanded another requirement that included a seminar by the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO).

    “She got furious when I said I would call Jeff (Pradhan) who was still in the pre-departure area. She said mine was a hopeless case,” she said.

    Pradhan said he opted not to proceed with his trip to Hong Kong without Rosales.

    When he asked to talk to higher airport authorities, Pradhan said one Zenaida Cruz showed up with a torn piece of paper on which she underscored with ballpen stating the need for Rosales to first seek certification from the CFO.

    “She was evidently perturbed when she later saw my girlfriend’s passport already stamped for departure for Hong Kong,” Pradhan said.

    He said that the CILA is also investigating the case amid similar grievances aired by other foreign investors in this Freeport.
    source: http://punto.com.ph/News/Article/141...alleged-abuses

    Steve, seems someone found another great way to piss of investors. I am almost certain Jeff Pradhan doubles his effort to find investors and promote the PI as it is more fun in the Philippines
    Last edited by Rhoody; 05-02-2012 at 05:47 AM. Reason: added source

  4. #4
    shadow is offline Administrator
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    LOL, the bottom line is, don't piss off the immigration officer. Sounds like he asked for it. Any bets on him doing it again?

    Larry

  5. #5
    Steve4910 is offline DI Member
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    Sounds like some immigration officers are going to get fired for over stepping their authority. I also heard that many tourists traveling with their filipina wife/girlfriend in Angeles city would rather drive almost 2 hours to Manila airport rather than deal with the bullsh*t at Clark airport. This is very bad tourism on the Philippines part and somebody better fix this mess real quick. Where is the department of Tourism and the head of immigration? They should be doing something about this instead of making excuses. This is pure laziness on Philippine government officials part. Sooner or later a drunk tourist is going to flip out at clark airport and beat an immigration officers @ss over a stupid incident like this, then it will be called an international incident. They get a lot of rough Aussies comming threw that airport. He ! He! He !

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    andiflip is offline DI Member
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    Sounds to me this was a money making scam that got caught out when they realized the guy was in a "Position" and then didn't know how to get out of it besides being a bunch of arrogant arseholes which i have always found 90% of them too be anyway, not just in Clark Airport. The main problem is these people will not be "fired" they may be promoted or transferred out of Clark to just carry on the same crap elsewhere......They may have problems if it was a Pinoy / Pinoy thing but since it was a foreigner involved also they don't care and nothing will happen.

    As i have said too many times in the past there should be a sign that says all foreigners please deposit your money here and jump on the next flight out of the country.. we don't want you here, only your money....

    This news will spread fast and should be a real "Boom" for tourism..
    Charlie T. likes this.

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    expatron is offline DI Member
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    All I can say, for several years my gf and I would go every year to Hong Kong or Singapore out of Cebu, we never had any problem with only passport's. After we were married we traveled with our baby girl. I understand that human traffickers have to be stopped, but if everything is correct, just smile. Normally that works, but when it doesn't, it's all about money in the palm of someones hand. That's why so many foreigner's have stopped coming here.

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    TheDoctor is offline Junior Member
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    Default Immigration Problem at the Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoody View Post
    Following a rather long copy/paste from a recent happening at Clark Immigration:



    I just wanted to post that, as I am sure some long-term tourists as well as expats might be unaware of that CFO counseling and guidance certificate and the problems one can run into.
    Please read the entire response, there's a point to be made here:

    On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears below. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
    PREAMBLE
    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations, Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith infundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
    I see Immigration in Violation of the following UN Articles:
    Article 2.
    * Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
    Article 9.
    * No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
    Article 13.
    * (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    * (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
    Article 15.
    * (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
    * (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
    Also, the Immigration Official violated the Philippines Bill of Rights as stated in Article III Section 6: in regards to the "right to travel".
    I can see that the traveler was angry about this situation, its ironic that I received this email just today, from Bible Questions Answered "Anger is not always sin. There is a type of anger of which the Bible approves, often called “righteous indignation.” God is angry (Psalm 7:11; Mark 3:5), and believers are commanded to be angry (Ephesians 4:26). Two Greek words are used in the New Testament for our English word “anger.” One means “passion, energy” and the other means “agitated, boiling.” Biblically, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems. Examples of biblical anger include Paul’s confronting Peter because of his wrong example in Galatians 2:11-14, David’s being upset over hearing Nathan the prophet sharing an injustice (2 Samuel 12), and Jesus’ anger over how some of the Jews had defiled worship at God’s temple in Jerusalem (John 2:13-18). Notice that none of these examples of anger involved self-defense, but a defense of others or of a principle.

    I think the principle of the matter that the Immigration people handled it poorly and they should apply the laws as written! If I were the travelers, I would ask the immigration office for a refund of the tickets, and ask for a future detailed training session on how the country's immigration office will begin to train their employees on laws regarding travel. The UN laws have the jurisdiction over any local laws or internal memos.

    It's nice to hear that someone else speak up and does the right thing once in a while.

  9. #9
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    flobenz is offline DI Member
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    This is such a stupid law. This should only be required for people leaving the country on a fiance or spousal visa. And having attended the seminar, I can't really say I learned anything of much importance!
    Charlie T. likes this.




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