House panel bats for higher ‘integration fees’ for foreigners

Published February 11, 2019, 5:02 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The House Committee on Ways and Means has agreed to increase the “integration fees” that will be imposed on foreign nationals seeking legal residency status in the country.

Workers of House of Representatives cleans the facade of Congress a week before State of the Nation Address. The 2nd State of the Nation Address of President Duterte will be held at HOR on July 24, 2017. Photo by Jansen Romero
Workers of House of Representatives cleans the facade of Congress.

The House panel, chaired by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, batted for the imposition of higher integration fees.

The decision was arrived at after some members observed that the substitute bill referred and approved by House Committee on Justice, imposes meager integration fees on certain foreign nationals, their spouses and children.

“The Committee wanted to increase the integration fees,” Suansing said.

Under the substitute bill, the principal applicant shall pay P250,000 upon filing of the registration forms with the bank; and P100,000 for the applicant’s spouse and P50,000 for each legitimate child below 18 years of age. The integration fees shall be paid to any duly licenses commercial or universal bank accredited by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

It was Deputy Speaker Rose Marie Baby Arenas who proposed that the Suansing panel should “go slow” and defer the bill’s approval.

Arenas said the foreign applicants could easily pay the integration fees imposed under the bill.

She proposed that P1 million integration fee should be imposed on the principal applicant.

“P1 million for them is just a small amount. They are paying as much as P1 million for monthly rent. I suggest we take it slowly. May mga reports na there are so much problem in the BI (Bureau of Immigration),” she said.

The Suansing panel deferred the approval of the bill and decided to return it to the House Committee on Justice “for further deliberation.”

Suansing said some “contentious” issues on the measure should be threshed out before the panel approves it.

“We defer the approval of the bill since there is no sponsor or author present and there are questions and no one will answer the contentious issues,” Suansing said.

Bukidnon Rep. Manuel Zubiri batted that safeguards should be put in place to ensure that those who will apply have no criminal records.