By Jun Ramirez
The United States has commended the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for barring the entry of a large number of American registered sex offenders (RSOs) into the Philippines last year.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed yesterday that the BI was awarded recently a certificate of commendation by the US embassy in Manila for registering the second highest number of excluded American RSOs throughout the world in 2018.
The highest number of intercepted RSOs was reportedly posted by US next neighbor, Mexico.
The US embassy’s citation specifically commended the BI’s port operations division (POD) as well as the airport operations section (AOS), travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU), and border control and enforcement unit (BCIU), which are all under the POD, for successfully implementing the “Angel Watch” program in the country’s ports.
A global initiative of the US Department of Homeland Security, Operation Angel Watch targets RSOs traveling abroad.
According to BI-POD Chief Grifton Medina, a total of 156 RSOs, 128 of them Americans, were denied entry in 2018.
Medina also said that in 2017 a total of 185 sex offenders were excluded, 128 of them Americans.
“We have been continuously receiving notices from foreign governments about RSOs who were monitored to be traveling to the Philippines and these information are immediately encoded in our database to alert our immigration officers at the ports of entry,” Medina said.
It was reported that since its inception more than a decade ago, Operation Angel Watch have identified thousands of sex crime perpetrators and advance notice of their travels were transmitted to their countries of destination.
Sex offenders, or those who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, are excludable under the Philippine Immigration Act.