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Alvarez backs Duterte: Visiting Americans should secure visa

/ 10:40 AM October 28, 2016

TOKYO—Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is backing President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to require Americans visiting the Philippines to get visas first, saying there should be reciprocity between the two countries.

Alvarez said he was wondering why, while the Philippines allows Americans to freely come to the country, the US requires Filipinos who want to visit it to line up in the wee hours of the morning just to secure a visa.

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“If they’re not willing to grant us the same privilege, we might as well also require their citizens coming to our country to apply for a visa in our embassies,” Alvarez told reporters in Tokyo, where he joined Mr. Duterte on his three-day official visit.

He said the Philippines has been too subservient to the US.

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“We have to put them in the right place,” he said.

READ: Duterte assails U.S. for strict visa policy

But he noted that it was up to the executive branch to impose the visa requirement on foreign nationals.

Alvarez also downplayed the possible loss of tourism revenue if the Philippines’ imposes a visa requirement on American tourists.

He said the bulk of tourists to the Philippines come from Korea, China, and Japan.

Tourism statistics show that in 2015, the highest number of tourists came from Korea at 1.3 million. But the second highest number of tourists—779,217—were from the US.

Asked about the US being strict in handing out visas because there were Filipinos who live in the US while undocumented, Alvarez said that was not the Philippines’ concern anymore.

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“It’s their problem. In our case, if someone stays here while undocumented, it’s our problem,”

Mr. Duterte broached the idea of requiring American visitors to get a visa during his state visit to China, which was where he also announced the Philippines’ economic and military “separation” from the US.

READ: Duterte: Why not make it even with US?

He had recalled that he was once denied a US visa and questioned on his intent to visit the country.

The President has been issuing hostile statements against the US following its expression of concern over the rising number of extrajudicial killing cases of drug suspects in the country.

He said the US does not understand the illegal drug situation in the Philippines, and that he was insulted over its threat to withdraw aid.

It was as if the US was treating the Philippines like a dog on a leash, he repeatedly laments.

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TAGS: Pantaleon Alvarez, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, US visa, visa
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