Over the years, I have told people, both through this site and also in person that you have to watch your actions here and watch what you say, because if you do or say the wrong thing it can get your deported. Usually people accepted the advice without question, but from time to time people ask me to show “proof” of the statement, because they do not believe me. In the past, I really could not offer them proof, although I knew what I said to be true.
The kinds of things that I am talking about are things like speaking out on Philippine political matters, participating in political rallies and demonstrations, that sort of thing. Participating in these kind of activities can and will get you kicked out of the Philippines. Even posting things on Facebook regarding Philippine Politics can get you into hot water. If you go online and complain about corruption or something like that, don’t be surprised if you hear from the Bureau of Immigration and end up in Immigration court. It can and does happen. You may slide for years doing this kind of thing, but in the end, your comments will catch up with you.
Some people, when I tell them this respond to me that they have “freedom of speech.” I tell them that they don’t have freedom of speech here, and they say “yes I do, it’s in the US Constitution!”. Well, it’s important to remember, we are in the Philippines, not the USA, and the US Constitution offer you no protection or rights in the Philippines. Freedom of speech and other rights spelled out in the Philippine Constitution are for Filipinos, not foreigners in the Philippines. In the USA, the Constitution protects every person in the USA, citizen or not. The Philippine Constitution protects citizens of the Philippines, not foreigners in the Philippines.
Recently, the US Embassy in Manila put out a bulletin for Americans in the Philippines, warning Americans about this very matter. They even provided to a link to a notice that was recently posted on the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website, which reads as follows:
DON’T JOIN ANTI-PORK RALLIES, BI WARNS FOREIGN ACTIVISTS
16 September 2013
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) again warned foreign tourist visa holders against joining rallies and other mass actions protesting the pork barrel system.
In a statement, BI Officer-in-Charge Siegfred Mison reiterated that tourist visa holders taking part in these rallies may face deportation for violating Philippine immigration laws.
Mison said the bureau will seek assistance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) in monitoring the presence of foreign nationals in these rallies.
“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,” the BI chief stressed.
Aside from the Sept. 13 youth-led Luneta rally, reports said more anti-pork barrel protests are being planned to compel lawmakers to give up their pork barrel funds.
Last month, the BI deported a Dutch activist who participated in a rally was photographed heckling a crying policeman at the dispersal line of last July’s anti-SONA rally near the Batasan in Quezon City.
There is only one thing that I feel is a mistake in the BI warning. They say it applies to foreigners who are here on tourist visas. I happen to know for sure that the same policy applies to foreigners who have other types of visas as well, such as a resident visa, SRRV or any other type of visa. If you are a foreigner, you are not free or welcome to speak out on Philippine political matters. It is that simple. I know of a lot of people who have been deported from the Philippines based on this. So, if you like living here, keep in mind that you may not be able to live here any longer if you participate in Philippine political issues.
Just a word to the wise… and this time I can offer an authoritative source for the information… both the US Embassy bulletin and also the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.