Western town mayors ask Bureau of Immigration to check foreigners’ status
By Yolanda Sotelo
DAGUPAN CITY – Three town mayors and one city mayor in western Pangasinan asked the Bureau of Immigration to check on the status of Taiwanese businessmen who are engaged in aquaculture industry in their areas.
IMMIGRATION MATTERS. Paulino Verzosa(3rd from right), alien control officer and current head of the Dagupan office of the Bureau of Immigration(BI), answers questions during the regular forum of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas(KBP)-Pangasinan chapter last September 1 at the Philippine Information Agency(PIA) office in Dagupan City. Others in photo are(from left) Bernie Erasquin, treasurer of KBP Pangasinan; Phil Dioquino,Jr., labor communications officer of DOLE Dagupan field office; Lawyer Ericson Oganiza, city elections officer; Jay Mendoza, KBP Pangasinan vice chairman; and Noel Sibayan, KBP Pangasinan chairman.CESAR RAMIREZ
Alaminos City Mayor Arturo Celeste said they wanted to know the Taiwanese status, “as we may not know if some of them could be engaged in illegal drugs, human trafficking and money laundering.”
The towns of Anda, Bolinao and Sual are major fish producing areas, largely contributing to the 150 metric ton daily harvest of bangus (milkfish) in Pangasinan, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The produce are sold in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Celeste said the letter addressed to the BI office in Dagupan, was signed by Anda Mayor Aldrin Celdran, Sual Mayor Roberto Arcinue, Bolinao Mayor Arnold Celeste, and him.
“While Alaminos City’s aquaculture production is minimal, I signed the letter because the city would also be affected if the aquaculture towns are affected,” he said.
“We do not know if the aquaculture could be a front of unscrupulous persons for illegal activities,” he added.
The mayors have provided a list of persons and companies owned partly by Taiwanese to to BI for checking. The persons and companies were granted permits by the local government units.
“But we could not provide a list of persons who could be coming in and out of the towns, as we do not know them. They usually come from Manila and Zambales,” Celeste added.
In an earlier interview, fish producer Eduardo Maramba said it is the Taiwanese companies which dominate the aquaculture industry in Pangasinan.
“They produce their own commercial feeds so they can afford to sell their produce at low prices. We local producers can hardly compete as we buy the feeds at exhorbitant prices,” Maramba said.
Maramba said seven years ago, a bag (25 kilos) of commercial feeds average from P280 to P300, and the price of bangus was P120 per kilo.
At present, commercial feeds cost from P700 to P1,000 per bag but the price (farm gate) of bangus went down to P90 per kilo.
Another aquaculture producer, who asked not to be named, described the Taiwanese as mostly being in their 30s to 40s.
“They come in shorts and many cannot even speak English,” he said.
Celeste however said, that those who have been staying in the Philippines can speak Filipino as they married Filipinas.
Many of them use dummies in their business papers, usually their caretakers, he said.
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