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Immigration says Pinay in viral '10 birth certificates' issue was denied travel due to 'multiple red flags'

By Melanie Uson Published Jul 11, 2023 12:47 pm

Horror stories about travelers missing their flights for odd reasons, albeit alarming, aren’t new—from being asked for a yearbook to being held for hours for repetitive interviews with the Bureau of Immigration. 

Just recently, a Pinay traveler went viral for missing her flight to Taiwan after allegedly failing to present 10 birth certificates of her ancestors. 

Her cousin and sponsor Ammie Liau detailed the incident in an interview with PTV 4, saying that she had to rebook the June 29 flight because she was asked to bring a physical photo of them together to establish their relationship. Upon returning on July 1, however, the Immigration asked for 10 birth certificates of their ancestors, given that they are considered as seven-degree cousins. 

“Sabi niya [Immigration personnel], ‘Kapag ganyan, Ma’am, nasa fifth or seventh degree na kayo ng pinsan mo, so kailangan mo magdala ng sampung birth certificate ng mga tao sa kanunuan niyo' para ma-prove ‘yung connections namin,” Liau said.

“Ten birth certificates? Pipilahin mo ‘yan sa PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority),” she said, adding: “Anong assurance nila na mapo-provide ko ‘yun? More or less by the next time, meron na naman silang hihingin na iba.” 

Dismayed, she called for BI's clear guidelines and policies in line with the matter. “Gusto ko they will come up with the implementations and proper guidelines talaga,” Liau, who spent a total of P17,000 for her cousin’s flight, said.

The BI released a statement on the viral issue on Monday, July 10 without naming the traveler in question. BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco noted she raised “multiple red flags,” citing “numerous inconsistencies” in her stories about her sponsor as well as her purpose for flying to Taiwan.

“The traveler, who initially attempted to depart late last month, claimed she is traveling to Taiwan to visit a distant relative,” the BI wrote in a statement.

“However, the immigration officer noted that during the assessment, there was mention of a possible work in Taiwan,” it added. 

The Immigration didn’t mention the controversial “10 birth certificates” issue in the statement, but said that the Pinay traveler was “unable to establish her relationship with her sponsor.” 

They also said that the traveler failed to prove her financial capacity for her supposed 14-day trip to Taiwan.

With this, Tansingco stressed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) guidelines on departure formalities, stating that "departing passengers whose purpose and capacity [are] not fully established may be sponsored by a relative within the fourth civil degree."

“Travelers need not worry as long as they have the appropriate documents that match their actual purpose of travel,” he said. “So many travelers are coming in and out of the country with no issues. Only those with conflicting documentation are subjected to further inspection.” 

According to Tansingco, an investigation on the matter will be ordered "to ensure that officers are able to communicate decisions properly to passengers."