American Traveler Receives Lifetime Ban In The Philippines
An American traveler receives lifetime ban in the Philippinesafter being accused of using "profane language" on a digital immigration form and displaying rudeness towards immigration officers. Anthony Laurence, aged 34, was denied entry and added to a permanent blacklist due to his purportedly "disrespectful" conduct, as stated by Philippine Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco in a recent statement.
Laurence arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila from Bangkok, Thailand, through an Air Asiaflight on November 7, as per the official statement. According to Philippine authorities, upon landing, he reportedly displayed "disdain" towards an immigration officer who reminded him to complete an online travelform, and he allegedly tossed his passport and mobile phone at another officer.
Laurence, claiming to be a property investor residing intermittently in the country, disputes the version of events provided by immigration authorities.
After verifying [Laurence’s information] in our system, the officer discovered that the passenger had keyed in a made-up address in the Philippines, did not include his full name, and inputted profane words in his entry.- Immigration Commissioner Tansingco
He mentioned that immigration officers had been instructed to practice the utmost tolerance, but the foreign national had exceeded acceptable limits and boundaries.
"Such behavior is not only disrespectful but also undermines the efficiency of the system. Our agency is committed to ensuring a seamless experience for the traveling public. We expect all individuals to conduct themselves with respect and adhere to the established procedures. Any violation of these procedures will be dealt with firmly," he said.
However, Laurence disputes this narrative, stating that he neither threw anything nor raised his voice during the incident. According to him, he sought assistance from immigration officers, but his request was declined when he encountered difficulties getting the travel form on his phone to function properly.
He explained that after three unsuccessful attempts to fill out the form, frustration led him to enter incorrect information in an attempt to expedite the immigration process for his connecting flight to Cebu. He did not address inquiries regarding the content of the form, including whether it contained any profanities.
I immediately apologized and the immigration officer wasn’t interested. I even hand-wrote an apology to the immigration officer which he wasn’t interested in as well.- Anthony Laurence
According to Laurence, Philippine authorities have overreacted, and he accuses them of denying him due process. He asserts that he was not provided with any official document informing him of the imposed ban.
"In fact, I learned much of the government's position from the articles they published about me and not from them directly," he said, referring to media reports about the encounter.
He avoided saying whether he planned to return to the Philippines, mentioning only that he now has to sell his property investments there. The immigration bureau stated that it excluded and blacklisted 44 foreign nationals in 2023 for being 'disrespectful.'