Foreigners participating in political rallies will be asked to leave PH — Cayetano

Published April 18, 2018, 6:00 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Roy Mabasa

Foreign nationals who will join political rallies such as those that would advocate for or against President Duterte’s drug war will be banned or asked to leave the country.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN)
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was the warning aired by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday, saying that the ban on foreigners who will engage in such activities are not limited to those critical of the government.

“The policy is not to limit for those who are against government policy. If a foreigner goes to the streets and says to the President to continue your drug war, we will also ask them to leave because it is not part of his political rights to do that,” Cayetano said at the forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap).

If a foreigner is organizing people to rebel against the government, “I’m sorry but that is not your right. That is your right in your country and I expect the same for myself,” he said.

Cayetano was reacting to questions surrounding last Monday’s arrest of 71-year-old Australian missionary Patricia Fox at her home in Quezon City.

Read more: Australian nun with valid missionary visa freed by BI

Fox was accused of alleged “illegal political activities” but was subsequently released after her lawyer was able to present a corresponding missionary visa and a valid passport.

A day prior to Fox’ arrest, Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist party official from the European Union, was refused entry and eventually excluded by the Bureau of Immigration.

Read more: Italian deported for violating conditions of stay – BI

As similarly practiced in other countries, the DFA chief pointed out there is “nothing irregular” with prohibiting undesirable aliens from entering the Philippines.

“In general, anyone – whether they are 12 years old 50 years old or 70 years old – if they are a foreigner and if they get involved in partisan political activities in the Philippines, then they are not welcome because it interferes with our political rights, with our right to self-determination,” he said.

In the same gathering, Cayetano clarified that it would be a different story if the foreigner is a member of the media who is in the country in line with his job.

“But if you are a journalist here, you are invited to be a journalist here so go ahead and ask the hard question. It really depends on the type of visa that is given to you,” he said.