Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have been ordered to stop collecting exit clearance fees from departing Filipino passengers who are holders of foreign passports.
The directive was given by Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Marcelino Libanan in a memorandum order that he issued last April 17 to immigration officials at the NAIA and other international airports and subports nationwide.
Libanan said he issued the order following complaints from Filipino travelers who were required to pay the said exit fees after presenting their foreign passports to immigration departure counters at the NAIA.
The said travelers are either former natural-born Filipinos who reacquired their Philippine citizenship under the dual citizenship act or foreigners who were recognized as Filipinos under the 1987 and 1935 Constitutions.
"It is not right to collect exit fees from these passengers who, even if they are holders of foreign passports, are actually Filipino entitled to all the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen," Libanan said in explaining his directive.
The exit fee amounts to more than P1,200 for a passenger and is normally collected from departing foreign tourists and holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
In his order, Libanan directed the immigration officers "not to collect exit fees from departing passengers who are holders BI-issued identification certificates even if they are using foreign passports.
An identification certificate is issued by the BI to a foreigner who was granted dual citizenship under Republic Act 9225 or whose petition for recognition as a Philippine citizen was approved by the BI and affirmed by the Department of Justice.
Under RA 9225, former natural-born Filipinos who became naturalized citizens of other countries are deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship.
On the other hand, an order of recognition as a Philippine citizen is issued to a foreigner whose father or mother is a Filipino at the time of his or her birth. (BI News)