Press Release
November 22, 2022

Transcript of privilege speech on the fake eArrival Card website
Senator Pia Cayetano

November 22, 2022

Mr. President, I rise today on a matter of personal and collective privilege about a very important matter. This is something that I feel ruins our reputation as a country, makes it very difficult for tourists and even balikbayans and traveling Filipinos to have faith in our country when these things happen.

Mr. President, currently, the country requires that every arriving passenger, whether Filipino or a foreign national, fill out and submit an eArrival Card. That in itself is not something I have an issue with. This is currently the practice in many countries around the world. Some have completely abandoned any kind of extra arrival requirements that have to do with COVID status, but many countries still require such. I have no issue with this, Mr President.

Last week, during the budget hearing of the Department of Tourism, our Vice Chairman of Finance, Sen. Nancy Binay mentioned that many people have been misled by a fake website or websites, asking them to pay for their eArrival cards, when in fact this should be free.

My understanding from Sen. Binay's discussion was that this has already been brought to the attention of both DOT and DOH. In any case, we have also discussed this with DOH because two days later, this representation handled the budget of DOH.

Over the weekend, I came to know through my daughter that a particular website... is asking for a fee of $79, which is roughly equivalent to P4,500, for the issuance of an eArrival card.

Anyone who is told that there is such a requirement normally, what do we do nowadays? You pull out your phone, you Google eArrival Card, and what will pop up when you Google Philippine arrival card or eArrival card in the Philippines, what will pop up?
[shows slide of the fake eArrival website] Google search link:

That is what will pop up and it's at the very top, itong particular website na ito, your honors. The name is If you noticed, your honors, that's at the very top. It's a sponsored ad. Maybe our tech experts can tell us, but obviously it's sponsored and obviously binayaran, it's an ad. It says it's an ad, your honors.

So, yan ang lumalabas. And if you're traveling, nagmamadali ka, nakapila ka na doon, natataranta ka na kung overweight ang bagahe mo o excited ka na makita loved ones mo, syempre you will click on the first one. I've done it myself, I've clicked on the first, pero kasi ako when it comes to money, isco-scroll ko pa lahat yan hanggang kamatayan hanggang mahanap ko ang mura.

But in any case, you don't assume naman na may bayad o hindi mo alam so click ka diyan. And it will then bring you to the site. Ito ka na, apply online. What you will see next is the application form, wherein unlike a discount or a promo where you can get something even if you put a fake address, hindi mo naman gagawing fake kasi this is your e-Card address, kailangan mag-match yan sa passport mo and whatever else you are filling up. So you will put your complete address. And then you will submit it and it is upon submission that you are then told that there is a fee. Like I said, imagine, nagmamadali ka, ayaw mo maabala pagdating mo sa immigration sa Pilipinas, excited ka. Eh di I don't know how many will whip up their card; and they accept all kinds of cards, hindi ko na iisa-isahin, credit cards... So yun.

So I don't know how many people ang naloko dito, but the reality is, for the record, there is no payment required to secure this e-Card. None. Zero. So maliwanag yan. Ang eArrival Card is free of charge.

So bakit may ganito? Bakit may raket nang ganito? I am told that DOH has submitted this case and asked for the assistance of NBI. They have also written to Google, because this is a Google search. I also on my own have reached out to Google and also made representations that this is damaging, not only to our reputation, but to the pockets of Filipinos and foreigners who would be victims of this scam.

So before I end my very short privilege speech, your honors, again, I will reiterate that this was first brought up during the budget hearing chaired by Sen Nancy Binay, because we want to promote tourism. Again I have no issue, I would tend to follow the recommendations of DOH on the requirements. I have an issue that there are people who are taking advantage of our tourism, of tourists, of balikbayans coming back, to the detriment, to our financial price that they need not pay.

In fairness, there are news reports on this. I am not the first person to bring this up. And before I end, I'd like to point out, so uulitin ko mga kababayan, mga kapatid, mga minamahal nating mga OFW na babalik, our foreign friends who are coming, there is no payment required to fill up the eArrival Card. But it's very confusing when the very first website that you will see upon the Google search... when you click on it, there will be a payment required...

The website itself, your honors, ito ang kanilang pagmamalinis [shows website's disclaimer]... Most likely, when you see this, you will click on apply online, right? So you will miss yang napakaliit na statement sa ilalim na kahit siguro lumapit ako, hindi ko pa rin mababasa, kaya I've asked my team to just print it for me to see clearly, it goes on to say that this is a professional travel agency that aims to help individuals. And that there is a service fee. So, I am sure yan ang pagmamalinis nila. But it is not right. It does not make it right.

Unang una, kung talagang gusto nilang hindi makaloko, dapat ibalandra nila doon, di ba? There is no need to pay. Ano bang tulong ginawa nila? Wala. Wala naman tulong. Wala naman silang tulong except pagkakitaan ang mga Pilipino or mga bisita dahil nagbayad sila ng sponsored ad para ma-click sila. So wala naman silang service na ino-offer and I could still consider that fraudulent, your honor.

So that is it. The purpose of this speech is to bring this to the attention of our colleagues, of the public. Again, as far as the government agencies are concerned, they already know, but to also ask them to be very vigilant about these things because every day that passes that that ad is there, it's deceiving Filipinos and foreigners entering our country.

Thank you, Mr President.

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