‘Sex tourism’ comeback feared as 5 offenders denied PH entry
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday raised concern over the possible “resurgence of sex tourism” in the Philippines as five foreign offenders were stopped from entering the country in just one week.
Four Americans identified as Neil David Laursen, Benancio Vasquez, Troy Delbert Houk, and Kevin Crispe, and a British national named Antonio Stephen Albert Costa were denied entry as they were found to be registered sex offenders (RSO), according to the BI.
“With the return of tourism also comes the return of aliens who will try to abuse our hospitality,” Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement.
“We warn these predators not to attempt to enter the country, as we have close coordination with different governments, who provide us information about sex offenders that might attempt to enter the Philippines,” he added.
On August 30, Laursen arrived at the Davao International Airport from Singapore and was intercepted by authorities. The next day, Costa arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) from Dubai and was also stopped by immigration officers.
On September 1, Vasquez was likewise intercepted at the MCIA while Houk was prevented by authorities after arriving from South Korea on September 4.
Crispe, on the other hand, was not allowed to leave the airport after arriving from Taipei on September 5.
“All five aliens were found to be registered sex offenders in their respective countries,” the BI stressed.
Citing section 29(a) 3 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, the BI said that aliens, or non-residents of the country who are convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude – which include RSOs – shall be prohibited and denied from entering the country.
The bureau explained that RSOs are individuals who were convicted due to sex offenses. Prevailing laws in their respective states or countries require the registration of a felon’s name and his offense in a system. The Philippines can obtain such a list.