Aliens ‘invade’ RP

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE –THEY’RE coming in droves.

The Bureau of Immigration yesterday said tourist arrival is at an all-time high, with over four million aliens having entered the country for the first nine months of the year.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said statistics from the BI showed that 4,024, 067 aliens, most of them tourists, arrived in the country during the first nine months of the year. This number is higher than the 3,781,713 who came in the same period in 2006.

American visitors topped the list with 466,086, followed by Koreans, 330,154; Japanese, 261,823; and Chinese, 136,223.

Also in the top ten list were Britons, Taiwanese, Australians, Canadians, Singaporeans, and Germans.

“That more and more foreigners are entering our country indicates that the Philippines is fast emerging as a favored destination for both foreign tourists and businessmen,” Libanan said.

The immigration chief added that the continued influx of foreigners should dispel any doubts about the government’s ability to attract foreign visitors and investors.

“Foreign businessmen are coming here because our economic fundamentals are sound and despite the assertions of government critics that our government is facing a political crisis, the confidence of foreign investors in our economy remains very strong,” he said.

Libanan partly attributed the influx of foreign tourists to the policy reforms he initiated in the BI such as the lifting of restrictions on the length of stay of foreign visitors.

Unlike in the past when foreign tourists are allowed a maximum stay of one year, they can now extend their stay up to two years and even longer if the bureau finds that their reasons for doing so are meritorious.