MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Filipinos wanting to visit the United States face an enormous challenge in securing an entry visa, especially for the purpose of tourism. Many go through the doors of the U.S. Embassy in Manila in the hopes of getting their passports stamped for travel to America, but very few leave with the tourist visa they try so hard to secure.
(The Philippines is not among the countries exempted from obtaining a tourist or business visa under the US Visa Waiver Program.)
In response to the illusive U.S. visa for Filipinos, the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BOI) has found a way to return the favor.
Foreigners visiting the Philippines, especially Americans, must obtain permission to leave. The little-known immigration policy requires foreigners to apply for, and secure an ‘exit visa’ before they can head to the airport to board a plane back to their home country.
“You are free to come, but you can’t leave without our permission,” a spokesman for the BOI said of foreigners intending to visit the island nation.
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” so the saying goes.
BATAC, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Asserting that answering the call of nature is a basic human right, former Philippine First Lady and incumbent Congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos (Second District, Ilocos Norte) has filed an unprecedented bill before congress that would make it illegal to charge fees for the use of public toilets.
Charging a fee for the use of public toilets is a widespread practice in the Philippines — in bus stations, public parks and plazas, strip malls and even in some airports and restaurants.
In fact, in a public toilet just blocks away from the Ferdinand E. Marcos Museum — where the former president’s embalmed body lies in a refrigerated glass crypt — a reporter for The Adobo Chronicles had to pay five pesos ($0.11) to use the bathroom while doing a story in Batac, Ilocos Norte, hometown of Marcos.
The bill, if enacted, will apply to all public toilets throughout the country. Violation of the law carries with it a fine of One Hundred Thousand pesos and/or jail time of 6 months to one year.
Senator Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, has expressed full support for the bill and promised to campaign for its approval when it reaches the Philippine Senate.
Notwithstanding the political rivalry between the Marcoses and the Aquinos, President NoyNoy Aquino said that he will sign Marcos’ bill when it reaches his desk.
ECHO LAKE, Calif. – California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping.
The problem is, no one in California believes him.
Brown chose the wrong day to issue the order : April Fools’ Day.
For many Californians, the news about Brown’s order was as believable as the news of Mike Pence resigning as governor of Indiana today.
Perhaps Brown’s communications manager needs to be written up.