Saturday, March 15, 2014

TRAVEL | Tale of a Country's Twisted Logic

I just had to write this and get it out of my chest.

(Photo by Alma Buelva)

After reading this article about "the Bureau of Immigration requiring all tourists proof of financial capability to travel" all my horrific encounters with the BI flashed back before my very eyes.

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I am always inconvenienced at the Philippines whenever I pass through the BI. I always have to present all sorts of papers just to prove that I have money and can afford to travel. This is simply pathetic and disadvantageous to those who only travel on limited budget.

Imagine if you are offload at the airport- the air ticket, visa, hotel, etc. will not be refunded to you. And you thought that just because you have the necessary papers, you'll be okay.

In a country where government should be assisting its people for their basic rights (i.e. travel and enjoy), it seems that the reverse is taking place.

Why in the world would you stop your people to go out of the country to experience something new? And why use social status as a requirement to travel?

Let me enumerate some reasons why this policy is all TWISTED:

1 - Financial capability? Does this mean that people who cannot provide bank accounts cannot travel anymore? What about those people who have worked all their lives and provided for their family and weren't able to save up, who do not have bank accounts- will they be denied to have a break?

2 - Discrimination. This policy only supports the already few elites in the country. Remember that the country has a glaring number of middle class to poor people. How do you expect them to look rich?

3 - Stop undocumented OFWs. In the first place, why are there undocumented OFWs? It's because the government system is either dysfunctional, inefficient or non-existent. A day in the POEA, NBI, GSIS, SSS is enough to let go of one's inhibition to be documented.

4 - And for what? What benefits do Pinoys get when they are documented? Be listed in OWWA? For what, seriously? So that you can get insured when you accidentally cut your fingers while abroad and get a few thousands of pesos? So you won't have to pay the terminal fee at the airport, when in the first place should not be the case as it is the people's tax that built the airport.

5 - It's not the BI's business to check if a person is financially capable or not. It's not the BI's business which hotel I am staying at, how much money I have in my pocket, and what itinerary I have. It's the country you are visiting who's supposed to do the checking.

6 - The long lines in the airport just so the BI can ask you stupid questions like- who are you visiting in your country of destination…, is just stupid! Imagine a person standing in line for hours (good heavens, we should be paid for every second spent standing on line).

Now I have my doubts whether to come back to the Philippines. There are so many possibilities running in my mind and it includes changing nationality. At least, when you have a better nationality, you won't have to deal with the idiots at the BI and you can slap them with your passport, a foreign passport that is- and tell them to back off because they have no right to hassle you anymore.

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