No rule barring foreign journalists from entering PH

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday, May 1,  clarified that no rule from the new government guidelines on issuing working permits to foreigners is barring foreign journalists — especially those critical of the Duterte administration — from entering Philippines.

The statement came after DOLE signed the Joint Guidelines on the Issuance of Work and Employment Permits to Foreign Nationals with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“Nothing in the guidelines would state so that we are barring specific foreign journalist or foreign media outfit to come into the Philippines and cover the events of the current administration,” said Dominique Tutay, director of the Bureau of Local Employment, during a press conference after the signing.

Instead, foreign journalists would be given a special working permit (SWP) if they would be working in the country for a maximum period of six months, as explained by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

According to him, journalists given special working permits will only work in the Philippines for up to six months, so they will not heed an alien employment permit (AEP) — which is required if a foreign national applying for a job is not included in the approved list of categories for alien workers allowed to secure an SWP.

However, it should be provided that no Filipino is competent, able, and willing “to perform the services for which the foreign national is desired” when issuing the AEP.

The SWP, meanwhile, will be issued by the BI to foreigners who intend to work, engage in specific activities, or render services in the country outside of an employment arrangement. As reported by the Inquirer, these activities and services include:

• Professional athletes, coaches, trainers and assistants

• International performers with exceptional abilities

• Artists, performers and their staff, who perform before an audience for a fee, subject to compliance with the requirements of the concerned agency, office or body

• Service suppliers coming primarily to perform temporary services and who do not receive salary or other remuneration from a Philippine source other than expenses incidental to their temporary stay

• Treasure hunters authorized to search for hidden treasure with permit from the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities

• Movie and television crews authorized to film in the country by the relevant regulatory office, body or agency

• Foreign journalists practicing their profession or covering a specific event in the country

• Trainees assigned in government institutions, government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC), and private entities

• Lecturers, researchers, trainers and others pursuing academic work, who are assigned in schools, universities, educational and research institutions, government agencies and other entities — with or without compensation

• Religious missionaries and preachers

• Commercial models and talents

• Culinary specialists or chefs

• Professionals, consultants or specialists

According to Tutay, the guidelines, which limit the work categories for which foreigners would be allowed to secure an SWP, aims to prevent abuse of the permit with the release of a “positive list.”

“It’s the first time that we released a positive list to prevent the abuse of the SWPs,” she said.

“So there are already 14 or 13 categories of workers who could be given SWPs. If they’re no on the list, it’s automatic – they will have to apply for an alien employment permit at the DOLE,” she added. 

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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