The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has begun issuing electronic Alien Certificate Registration (ACR) Identification Cards, simply known as I-Card to foreigners in the country.
Let me tell you why this is one of the significant and laudable developments at an agency beset by a struggle between good and evil.
The new I-Card, a microchip-based, credit card-sized card issued to all registered aliens who would stay in the country for more than fifty nine (59) days. It replaces the paper-based ACR I-Card.
It is color-coded, with specific colors designated for 10 different visa types and embedded with security features against fraud.
Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison, of course, said the issuance of the newly designed I-Card is part of efforts to upgrade its public service and ensure the convenience of foreigners in transacting business at BI.
But there is more than meets the eyes.
Alien Registration Division chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. said the new design and format of the ACR I-Card will help prevent harassment, unwarranted and illegal detention of alien residents.
“It aims to eliminate instances where aliens are indiscriminately accosted, harassed and detained on mere suspicion or allegation of possessing fake or fraudulent immigration documents,” Manahan said.
“It also decreases the cost of transacting business with the Bureau as it is also designed to eliminate fixers, middlemen and syndicates using falsified documents,” the official also added.
Manahan said the color-coded I-Cards will be issued to the following categories: Permanent Resident, Native Born Resident, Special Non-Immigrant, Worker, Treaty Trader, Probationary Resident, Voluntary Registrant, Student, Tourist, and Gratis.
“It must be pointed out that the card is not a substitute for a passport or a visa, and cannot be used to replace either. A foreign national still needs a passport and a valid or current visa stamped inside in order to legally stay in the Philippines,” Manahan said.
He noted a number of other advantages of the use of the new ACR I-Card, as follows:
One great advantage of having this I-Card is that the foreigner can open a Philippines bank account, which makes transferring money, keeping money safe, and withdrawing money easier at minimal charges.
Foreigners are provided faster processing time at the ports of entry and exit within seconds of the verification process.
Having a genuine ACR I-Card will benefit them with faster and more efficient service at the BI offices.
They can also make online payment of immigration fees and can make quick verification of information.
IS MAR ROXAS GLORIFYING THE CRIMINAL?
Day in and day out, Roxas has shown his desperation in seeking the presidency, going out of his way to do epal, with his photo-ops looking more and more contrived and desperate.
For example, he did not just order a swift investigation on the shooting of a robbery holdup suspect by five policemen in Sampaloc, Manila last week.
He went out to do photo ops, baiting for sound bites, at the slain suspect’s funeral wake.
Obviously, the incident would not have become a significant event if it was not caught in CCTV recording and shown in the newscasts.
The video shows policemen catching up with the driver of the supposed getaway tricycle, who got off the trike, knelt down and held his arms up. One of the policemen stood in front of him and fired successive shots at the suspect.
Thanks to Roxas’ CCTV installation program.
Roxas was quick to ride the sympathy of some people who saw the footage.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to display sympathy with the family of the dead.
It’s just that Roxas appears to be glorifying the slain suspect.
He might be missing the fact that there is a looming public sentiment against criminals, such as holdup men.
There is, in fact, a widespread clamor for the imposition of capital punishment for violent and heinous crimes. People are disgusted and frustrated with rising crime incidence.
Many people know that a tough and an uncompromising stand against crime, as well as against corruption, is rather politically correct.
That is why not quite a few people empathize with the five policemen involved in shooting the robbery holdup suspect in Sampaloc.
The slain suspect turned out to have a criminal record and a pending case.
A young man who claims to be victim of the robbery came to the defense of the cops who went after the two robbery suspects.
“Kung ako yung natamaan ng mga holdaper, magkakaroon ba ako ng hustisya?” he said.
Unfortunately, Roxas’ “Lambat Sibat” is all bull crap.