Press Release
February 23, 2019

Ban foreign sex offenders from traveling to PH -- Koko

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has filed a bill barring foreign sex offenders, including those whose names are listed in any sex offender registry, from traveling to the country.

"To fully protect our vulnerable children from these sexual predators, this bill mandates the creation of a sex offender registration and notification program, allows consular officers to issue the necessary prohibition orders against sex offenders or foreign nationals in conflict with child protection laws based on available and verifiable intelligence reports and allows summary deportation proceedings to be commenced against those who were able to enter the Philippines despite being among those subject for exclusion," he said.

Pimentel cited the 2016 Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism which shows that the Philippines is one of the most favored destinations of traveling sex offenders.

"The same report highlighted the fact that because our legal frameworks are weak, our law enforcement has allowed them to remain virtually immune from prosecution," Pimentel said in filing Senate Bill No. 2192 entitled "An Act Protecting Children From Traveling Sex Offenders and For Other Purposes."

Pimentel noted that the United States and Australian governments have already strengthened their domestic legislation by limiting the mobility of their registered sex offenders.

Many countries, including the Philippines, however, have yet to do the same, the senator said.

"It is therefore imperative that we take a proactive stance in protecting the Filipino children, for they are the future of this nation," Pimentel said.

In his bill, Pimentel proposed to prohibit entry into the country of any foreign national who has a pending administrative, civil or criminal case involving any sex-related offense or any specified offense of a sexual nature or complexion involving children.

The measure also seeks to cover those who have been convicted in any country of any sex offense involving children as well as those whose names are included in any sex offender public registry or any such similar database of any country.

The bill directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create and maintain a sex offender registration and notification program. The DOJ will be authorized to undertake joint activities to enhance cooperative efforts and mutual assistance among foreign countries and to formulate a shared governmental and inter-governmental information system which include linking with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

A sex offender who has been convicted of any sex-related offense will be required to provide information for registration purposes and failure to comply with such requirements would be meted with prision correccional in its maximum period.

While an informant who has not acted in good faith and provides false information shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period.

In the event that foreign sex offenders still managed to step into the country, they will be summarily deported, the senator said.

"The foreign national shall be ordered to leave immediately and passport visa or travel documents shall be cancelled," Pimentel added.

Such summary deportation order shall be final and immediately executory upon its signing or approval, the bill said.

Pimentel also included a provision which bars foreign sex offenders from demanding entry into the country by virtue of relationship with a Filipino, whether as a parent, stepparent, adoptive parent or foster parent of a Filipino child, a common law spouse, cohabitant, or sex partner of a Filipino child's parent.

Public officials who will allow the entry of foreign sex offenders will be charged administratively for "grave misconduct" under Civil Service Laws and criminally liable with imprisonment of one to two years or a fine of P500,000.

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