PH Immigration Act hurdles House committee

MANILA -- A measure seeking the creation of a Commission on Immigration has hurdled the committee level at the House of Representatives.

The House committee on justice has unanimously approved the unnumbered substitute bill, titled Philippine Immigration Act, which seeks to apply and administer the country's immigration policies, rules, and regulations in the promotion of domestic and external interests of the country.

Under the bill, the proposed Commission on Immigration shall be principally responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Philippine Immigration Act.

The commission shall also be in charge of the implementation of all laws, rules, regulations or orders of any competent authority concerning the entry and admission into, stay in, and the departure from the Philippines of all persons.

The proposed immigration body, which shall be administered by the Board of Commissioners headed by the Commissioner as Chairperson, will be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice.

The bill seeks to grant the Board of Commissioners both quasi-judicial and rulemaking powers.

The bill further grants authority to the Board to retain and use every year 50 percent of its collections from immigration fees, fines and penalties, and other income that may be collected by the Commission.

An Immigration Trust Fund (ITF) shall be created which can be exclusively used for the following: 40 percent for the modernization of equipment, facilities and offices of the Commission; 30 percent for the payment of employees benefits provided in this Act; 30 percent for the further professionalization of employees.

Source: Philippine News Agency