Issuance of Hajj Passports Suspended

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ MARIANNE V. BERMUDEZ)


By: Jeannette I. Andrade, Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

HE WAS suspending the issuance of Hajj passports “in response to the case of 177 Indonesians (caught) using Philippine passports on Aug. 19, ” Foreign Affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said during Tuesday’s budget hearing at the House of Representatives.

In a text message, DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the secretary will be seeking through legislation the permanent suspension of the Hajj passports, special travel documents specifically issued for pilgrimage to Mecca.

Initial information received by the department found that the  “fake Filipinos” had resorted to fake documents to obtain Philippine passports because they could no longer be accommodated in their country’s pilgrimage quota given by Saudi Arabia.  They used the quota reserved for Filipino pilgrims instead.

The DFA was still conducting its own probe of the incident.

The Bureau of Immigration meanwhile released the Indonesians from the BI jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, on the request of the Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines on Friday.

The foreigners’ release was “subject to certain conditions,” said BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang who added that they would still be subject to deportation proceedings for being undesirable aliens and for violating Philippine immigration laws.



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