GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 1 March) – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) called on overstaying and resident foreign nationals based in this city and neighboring areas to immediately renew their alien certificates of registration (ACR) to avoid possible deportation.
Pedrito Lopez Jr., alien control officer of the Glan immigration field office, said Wednesday foreigners only have until Friday, March 3, to process their ACRs or they will be flagged as overstaying or illegal aliens.
He specifically cited native-born Indonesians, which comprise the bulk of foreigners listed in their database.
Aside from Glan in Sarangani, he said they have monitored Indonesians residing in parts of Region 12, including this city, Tacurong City and Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat and Norala in South Cotabato.
An estimated 2,000 foreign nationals in the area have not yet renewed their ACRs at the Glan and General Santos immigration field offices and currently considered as overstaying.
Lopez said they are presently reaching out to foreigners who failed to appear before their offices for the January to February annual registration.
“There are really a lot of overstaying foreigners here in Region 12. Some already have their own families here but have not appeared or reported to us,” he said.
Foreigners usually enter the country through the international airports using pre-approved visas and visit passes.
Lopez said those from restricted countries usually get visas good for 7 to 14 days that may be renewed or extended later on.
He said nationals of non-restricted countries get up to 30-day visas and could be extended later for several months to one year.
In the case of Region 12, he said there are foreigners, especially the native-born Indonesians, who had entered through the local ports or via the “backdoor.”
Lopez said the Department of Justice and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are now in the fourth stage of “alien mapping” for native Indonesians residing in the country.
Pending a final decision on the matter, he said they have been processing the registration of Indonesians in the area to legalize their stay.
“We’re working on the proper documentation of all foreigners presently staying in the area to make their stay legal and avoid possible problems later on,” Lopez said.
He added that they have expedited the registration process and they usually complete them in about 20 minutes. (MindaNews)