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Stricter requirements for Chinese tourists ensure travelers’ rights, welfare—Filipino Consul General

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A Filipino consul general on Wednesday defended the additional visa requirements for Chinese tourists, saying these were intended to ensure that the rights and welfare of the travelers are protected.

“I believe that this is an issue that is purely consular in nature and this has something to do with our efforts to make sure that the rights and welfare of travelers going to the Philippines are also protected, by making sure that legitimate travelers are the ones that obtain their visas while still here at the post,” Minister and Consul General Arnel Talisayon of the Philippine Embassy in China said.

Talisayon made the remarks during the Commission on Appointments hearing when asked if the recent announcement by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on visa requirements for Chinese tourists would affect the relationship between China and the Philippines.

The Consul General stressed that these regulations are “within the prerogative of the sovereign state.”

Talisayon was among the 16 DFA officials whose promotions were confirmed by the Commission on Appointments yesterday.

The DFA last week announced that it would tighten the visa requirements for Chinese tourists amid a high number of fraudulent applications received in its embassy and consulates in China.

The department immediately clarified that this has nothing to do with national security issues. It added this would even benefit the Chinese citizens, who are often victims of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).

The announcement came amid a series of aggressive actions by China in the West Philippine Sea.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Domingo said the intent is to “weed out” the illegitimate and “unsavory” tourists from the legitimate ones.

But the Philippine Travel Agencies Association lamented that tighter visa rules could discourage Chinese tourists from visiting the country, thus impacting travel businesses as well as the hotel and accommodations sector.

For its part, the Bureau of Immigration expressed support for tighter visa requirements, saying this would also help protect the Philippines from activities that are “probably inimical to national security or public interest.”

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