MANILA – The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration announced on Tuesday it had deported 294 undocumented Chinese nationals earlier in the day.
In a statement, the bureau’s commissioner, Jaime Morente, said the migrants were part of the 329 arrested during a coordinated raid on Sept. 16 on eight different hotels and establishments. The operation was carried out by BI Intelligence agents assisted by the Armed Forces Western Command (WESCOM), Morente added.
The migrants were arrested for allegedly “violating the conditions of their stay by working in the country without the necessary permits and visas,” according to the chief of the BI’s Intelligence Division, Fortunato Manahan.
Manahan added that seven minors who were detained in that operation were also being flown out along with the 294 adults.
“Upon determination of their age, they were ordered released. Custody has been turned over to the Chinese embassy, and they have also flown out today, bringing up the total number to 301,” he said.
The Chinese government has canceled the passports of all 301 people, Manahan said, making them undocumented.
The group of 301 is the first batch among those arrested in the province of Palawan to leave the Southeast Asian country.
A smaller group of 17 people will be flown to Manila while their deportation orders are processed and 11 others who were flagged on a National Bureau of Investigation database will await the resolution of their law enforcement cases before being expelled.
The migrants arrested during the raid were temporarily detained at an inn in the provincial capital, Puerto Princesa, that was secured by BI and WESCOM agents, according to the bureau’s statement.
Morente, meanwhile, issued a warning against “illegal aliens hiding in the country.”
“We are targeting big companies who so blatantly disregard our laws by hiring improperly-documented foreign nationals,” he said. “We welcome you to our country to do business as long as you comply with our laws.”
“If you fail to follow, we will deport you,” he added.