‘Visa, passport issues cause headache to gov’t’
By ANDREW FANASIA
AS the repatriation exercise of local students studying in the Philippines continues, visa and passport hiccups remain a huge challenge for the government.
It was understood that some students have overstayed their visas and to process a new one takes time.
The government has to step in to help individual students who are currently having problems with their passports and visas in the Philippines.
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister (SSPM) Albert Kabui during a press conference this week explained that visa and passport issues are responsibilities of each individual student to sort out.
“We must be clear that with who is responsible so that appropriate actions are taken to address this issue,” he said.
The officer said COVID-19 is now a global pandemic and is further compounded by the issue of passports and expired visas.
“So when the government wants to repatriate our students in time as scheduled we face another problem with expired visas and passports.
“Out of the total number of students in the Philippines, half of them are sitting in the Philippines with expired visas,” the official told the press.
He further stressed that we do not want to blame anyone but we have to call ‘spade a spade’
“It is an individual responsibility for the students to renew their expired visas and passports,” Kabui told the press.
He further added that the government is only responsible for student tuitions, food allowances, and airfares.
“This is what happens right across every tertiary institution as far as I know,” he added.
So seeing that the government is stepping to address their expired visas Kabui said, it is very difficult because the government is dealing with another country with its own jurisdiction.
“At least all of us need to understand the nature of the problem of the issue.
“The government is trying its very best to address the issue to bring back our students from the Philippines,” he affirmed.
The first repatriation flight arrived in the country with only 96 students.
Of the 123 students booked to travel on the flight, 27 students were denied travel due to expired visas.