BI chief to submit courtesy resignation to new president

June 3, 2010 8:31 pm 

MANILA, June 3 — Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said on Thursday he will tender his courtesy resignation to the new president on June 30 even if Congress enacts into law the proposed Philippine Immigration Act of 2009.

In a statement, Libanan said he will submit his courtesy resignation to apparent President-elect Senator Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III to give him a free hand in choosing who he wants to lead the BI and oversee the implementation of the new law.

Libanan issued the statement in reaction to newspaper reports that Congress is set to extend the BI officials’ tenure through alleged “midnight legislation.”

“Let me assure my former colleagues in Congress that I will submit my courtesy resignation to the next president to dispel insinuations that this bill was only designed to prolong my stay in the bureau,” Libanan said.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to ratify the bicameral conference committee report on the new immigration act before they adjourn Thursday.

The proposed law will extend by one year the tenure of the incumbent BI commissioner and his two associate commissioners as transition period to draft its implementing rules and regulations.

The BI chief explained that the immigration bill had been pending in Congress for the past three years and that it went through extensive debates and deliberations before the measure was approved by both chambers.

Libanan stressed that a new immigration act for the country is long overdue, citing the fact that the present 1940 Immigration Act is already antiquated and not attuned to the present times.

“This bill calls for the institution of policies and procedures that make it easier for foreigners to visit or do business in the Philippines,” he said.

Libanan also cited provisions in the bill that strengthen the government’s ability to thwart the entry of undesirable aliens, including foreign terrorists, fugitives, drug and human traffickers.

He also emphasized that the measure will give added momentum to current reforms that are underway in the BI, which are designed to eliminate red tape, eradicate corruption and facilitate the delivery of fast and efficient services to foreign tourists, expatriates and businessmen.

Libanan also mentioned the support of foreign chambers in the Philippines to the passage of the bill.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFCP) said the proposed law will encourage more foreigners to visit and do business in the country as the new immigration bill will be more responsive to the world trends in tourism and economic development. (PNA) scs/FMB

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