Philippine immigration warns against fake order on hunting illegal foreigners in restaurants, bars

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A fabricated document circulating on Facebook, Twitter and private messaging apps claims the Philippine immigration agency has ordered the inspection of entertainment venues in the capital Manila to arrest foreigners staying illegally in the archipelago. The agency said it did not issue such an order and is "not authorised to randomly inspect establishments" without first conducting an investigation. There is no trace of the document number on the Bureau of Immigration's website.

The fake immigration order is titled: "Operation orders on checking foreigners' overstaying and illegal employment in various entertainment places".

It orders the inspection of "all entertainment places in Manila", including restaurants, bars and hotels, between December 1 and January 31, to check for foreigners staying in the Philippines illegally.

The document features the letterhead of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI), with the text "OPERATION ORDERS NO. 2022-006" along with the signature of immigration chief Norman Tansingco.

A Facebook post sharing a screenshot of the document says: "Don't go around these days, please bring a legal Philippine ID when you go out."

Screenshot of false post captured on December 21, 2022

The Philippines said in September it would deport 40,000 Chinese workers in a crackdown on unlicensed online gaming businesses, after reports of kidnapping, prostitution and murder in the gambling industry.

In November, the BI released two operation orders -- 2022-004 and 2022-005 -- explaining how workers could temporarily extend their stay.

The fabricated document circulated on Twitter, Telegram, Facebook and various Chinese-language forums, including here and here.

A screenshot of the order in some posts appears to have originated on Chinese messaging app WeChat.

'Not authorized'

Norman Tansingco, the immigration chief whose signature appears on the document, said it was fabricated.

"No such order has been issued by the BI," he said in a statement released on November 28.

"Our operatives are not authorized to randomly inspect establishments, but instead are required to secure a mission order to conduct an arrest.

"A mission order is only issued upon thorough investigation and confirmation that the subject foreign national has indeed violated immigration laws."

Fabricated document

The fake document uses a different font and page format to previous orders published by the BI.

Furthermore, it does not feature the motto "PATRIOTISM. INTEGRITY. PROFESSIONALISM" at the bottom of the document, which has been included in official immigration orders since at least 2017, as seen here, here and here.


Below is a screenshot of the fabricated document (left) compared with a genuine immigration order (right):

Screenshot comparison

Keyword searches on the official website and social media channels of the BI found no record of "OPERATION ORDERS NO. 2022-006".