MANILA, Philippines, Nov 19, (Agencies): The Philippines has imposed a lifetime ban on an American traveler, accusing him of using “profane words” on a digital immigration form and displaying rudeness towards immigration officers. Anthony Laurence, 34, was denied entry and placed on a permanent blacklist, as disclosed by Philippine Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco in a recent statement.
Laurence, arriving from Bangkok, Thailand, on an Air Asia flight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on November 7, is alleged to have shown disrespect toward immigration officers when mentioned to complete an online travel form, reportedly tossing his passport and phone at one officer.
Contrary to immigration authorities’ claims, Laurence, a property investor residing intermittently in the country, contests the narrative. Immigration Commissioner Tansingco stated that, upon verification, it was discovered that Laurence had entered a fabricated address, omitted his full name, and used profiles in his entry.
Tansingco emphasized that immigration officers were instructed to exercise maximum tolerance but asserted that Laurence had exceeded acceptable behavior, deeming it not only disrespectful but also detrimental to the system’s efficiency.
While Laurence maintains he neither threw items nor raised his voice, he advanced seeking assistance when faced with difficulties completing the travel form on his phone. After three failed attempts, he admitted to entering incorrect information in frustration to expedite immigration processing for his connecting flight to Cebu.
Laurence expressed regret and issued a handwritten apology, which he claims was disregarded by the immigration officer. He disputes the severity of the authorities’ reaction, alleging a lack of due process and asserting that he learned about the ban from media reports rather than official communication.
He did not disclose plans for a return to the Philippines, stating only that he would need to dive himself of property investments there. The immigration bureau reported blacklisting 44 foreign nationals deemed ‘disrespectful’ in 2023.
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