Upon the directive of Secretary Leila De Lima, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has removed nearly 6,000 individuals from its hold departure list and watch list as part of ongoing efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and BI to sanitize the bureau’s records and purge it of expired and obsolete derogatory orders.
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo A. David Jr. disclosed that as of June 12 this year, the BI has already lifted 810 hold departure orders (HDOs) and 5,005 watch list orders (WLOs) from its database.
The orders were previously issued by the BI against individuals who were subjects of criminal and administrative complaints before the bureau or the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“We hope that as a result of this cleansing process, fewer people will be inconvenienced at the airports and prevented from leaving because their names happen to be in our derogatory list,” David said.
David said that the bureau has started reviewing its records and initially found out that there are thousands more of expired hold departure and watch list orders which should be erased from the bureau’s database in the coming weeks.
The BI chief, however, stressed that HDOs and WLOs which are subjects of pending court litigations will not be lifted.
David urges the public to visit the bureau’s website, www.immigration.gov.ph to view the list as he already instructed the Computer Section to upload the list of the individuals with HDO or in the watch list.
According to BI Law and Investigation Division (LID) chief Arvin Santos, only HDOs and WLOs issued by the DOJ and BI are covered by the DOJ directive and not those issued by the courts.
Santos said that pursuant to De Lima’s instructions, all watch list orders issued before May 25, 2010 are considered expired and may now be lifted or cancelled.
On the other hand, HDOs which have lasted for five years or more from the date of issuance was also be lifted, Santos added.
Santos also bared that 18 HDOs and 19 watch list orders issued by the DOJ as well as 4,465 HDOs and 9,853 watch list orders issued by the BI are currently being reviewed to determine if these may be lifted or retained if these are related to pending cases.