• Asean single-visa scheme, urged

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    TWO Filipino lawmakers filed a resolution on July 28, 2014 to call for a single-visa scheme among the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), in preparation for the Asean economic integration in 2015.

    According to a report, Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Representative Maximo Rodriguez filed House Resolution 1313 urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to engage other Asean countries to discuss this system, which is similar the European Union’s unified visa system or Schengen visa that applies to their 26-member states. The proposed scheme aims to save time and resources in securing travel documents for each country of destination.

    The lawmakers are positive that this scheme would significantly boost the country’s tourism industry as well as that of other member Asean countries including Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    While Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. is very positive that this scheme would benefit the country, he also admitted that this will take time to accomplish due to issues on technological preparedness, political issues, concerns of sovereignty and security, and the different visa systems in the member states.

    Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Seigfred Mison is in agreement with Jimenez, but if and when the single visa scheme is approved, pledges his commitment to steer the agency toward implementing the changes.

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