December 30, 2010 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur is informing Filipino nationals that a letter/affidavit of invitation/support authenticated by the Embassy does not guarantee clearance for departure to Malaysia by Philippine immigration officers.
This is in light of numerous calls to the Embassy from Filipino travelers and their sponsors complaining that their affidavit of invitation was not honored by Philippine immigration officers causing them to be off-loaded from their respective flights.
In a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs on September 30, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Officer-in-charge Ronaldo P. Ledesma noted that the BI “does not necessarily require authenticated affidavit of support and/or guarantee. But many Filipino travelers resort to this when they cannot show either their personal capacity or that of their sponsor to shoulder the costs of the trip.”
“Nonetheless, having an authenticated affidavit of support does not guarantee being cleared for departure. The affidavit of support still has to be read and assessed by the immigration officer as authentication only guarantees due execution by the affiant and does not guarantee its contents,” the letter stated.
Such measures are in compliance with Republic Act (RA) 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
The law mandates the BI with strict enforcement duties pertaining to the immigration departure formalities of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Filipino fiancés/fiancées and spouses of foreign nationals.
In pursuit of such mandate, the individual right to travel may thus be regulated by the BI at the Philippine international airports and seaports, whenever relevant BI officers and personnel reasonably detect a trafficking situation which may fall under the purview of RA 9208 and/or other relevant laws, such as but not limited to the Revised Penal Code, RA 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995), and RA 8239 (Philippine Passport Act).
Legitimate Filipino travelers to Malaysia are therefore advised not to rely too much on their affidavits of invitation and present other documents as proof of their personal capacity or that of their sponsor/s to undertake the trip. END