Press Release
March 15, 2021

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the 11 Chinese tourists barred from entering the Philippines

I welcome the swift action undertaken by the Bureau of Immigration against the 11 Chinese tourists who misrepresented their purpose of traveling to the country.

I am glad our series of investigations on the "pastillas scam" has jolted the BI to take their roles as guardians of our borders more seriously. While the widespread corruption has made us more skeptical of the agency's credibility, instances like this tell me that all is not lost.

Nonetheless, I remain vigilant. There are continued reports of officials in the bureau who are allegedly still in cahoots with Chinese nationals who illegally want to enter the country.

Some BI officers may continue to be an accomplice to the 'mutated' pastillas scam, in which each Chinese national pays P550,000 in bribe money, as NBI's recent entrapment operation was inside the office of a BI official. We will investigate this new pastillas scam further.

We will also clamp down on BI officials who allegedly lead the outbound trafficking of our own women. We have discovered new disturbing information, which we will reveal in the forthcoming Senate hearing of the Committee of Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.

As I've said time and again, I will not stop until we see the masterminds, the big fish of the pastillas scam behind bars. I will not stop until we are able to protect our women and children from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

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