MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration on Tuesday ordered its personnel nationwide to stop stamping the passports of nationals from the People’s Republic of China.
In a memorandum, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. instead directed immigration officers to place their stamps on the back page of a Chinese national’s visa application form.
David’s order was issued based on the Foreign Service Circular No. 211-12 issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as part of the Philippines ’ protest against China ’s “excessive claim” over the entire South China Sea.
David said the visa application form should be attached to the passport of the holder upon his arrival in a Philippine port of entry and whenever he transacts in any of the Immigration field offices.
“In view of the DFA circular and pursuant to the Philippine immigration act, immigration personnel shall refrain from placing any immigration stamps on the PROC passports,” David said.
David said the directive applies to all immigration stamps, including arrival, departure, conversion, downgrading, and extension stamps.
However, he clarified that the directive does not apply to diplomatic, official and service passports of PROC officials.
In case of an arriving or departing PROC national holding a passport issued prior to the DFA circular, David said, the passenger shall be referred to an immigration supervisor who shall have the passport page bearing the visa photocopied. The stamp shall be placed on the photocopied page which shall be attached to the passport.