A young actor who happens to be an American passport holder reportedly made a scene at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1 on January 3 after a Bureau of Immigration (BIC) officer stamped his passport only with a 30-day stay, with the actor apparently expecting more.
The actor, who was not identified by the BI but whose initials are said to be ‘T.L.’, reportedly hurled expletives at the immigration officer concerned and allegedly was furious at the immigration personnel present for giving him a hard time, despite him being a celebrity and with people wanting to take pictures with him.
The incident prompted the BI to issue a statement, clarifying the scope of the Balikbayan Program intended for former Filipinos visiting the Philippines. Former Filipinos refer to Philippine citizens who are eventually naturalized abroad.
“Under Republic Act No. 6768, the 1-year Balikbayan visa privilege is exclusively given to former Filipinos naturalized abroad, and their spouse and children who are travelling with them,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente explained.
Immigration spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval clarified that those who have Philippine lineage do not necessarily qualify for the Balikbayan Privilege.
“The privilege is for former Filipinos, and their immediate family members who are traveling with them only. If these family members are not traveling with the Filipino or former Filipino, they are not qualified for the one-year visa free privilege,” she stressed.
She further explained that those who are admitted as Balikbayans are given an initial stay of one year, which they may extend for another one, two, or six months. Those who do not qualify, but are within the list of 157 countries eligible for visa free entry pursuant to Executive Order No. 408, get an automatic 30-day visa upon their arrival.