Bohol 3rd District Rep. Alexie Besas Tutor has filed a resolution seeking “hospitable and compassionate” treatment of stranded and overstaying foreign nationals in the country during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House leader appealed to the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to closely coordinate with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) to look after the welfare of stranded foreign passport holders with Filipino blood, foreign tourists, foreign investors, and other foreign nationals who were unable to return to their homelands because of the pandemic.
“Though no fault of their own, foreign nationals have been stranded in our country and their visas have expired since the COVID-19 pandemic community quarantines took effect at various times and over different areas. These foreign nationals should be treated with hospitality and compassion instead of being treated as overstaying aliens or criminals since they could not leave the country because of the pandemic,” Tutor, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Health, said in House Resolution No. 1466.
Under the resolution, she asked the DOT, DFA, and DOJ to “apply just and compassionate solutions, including but not limited to waiver of stiff fines and penalties.”
She said some of the overstaying foreign nationals have suffered financially because of their depleting travel funds.
“Some of the foreign nationals had valid alien certificates of registration but which expired because they could not safely venture outdoors. Stiff penalties and other measures can be waived given the valid and compassionate reasons,” she said.
Under HR 1466, Tutor, member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, urged the House Committees on Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and Justice, to assess the status and living conditions of stranded foreign tourists, investors, and other foreign nationals in the country.