According to the Philippine Ship Agents’ Association (PSAA) the current situation may be outlined as follows, following a meeting between the PSAA and the Bureau of Immigration:
- Visaed crew list requirement remain in force in line with security concerns of the recent crisis in Marawi
- List of restricted 13 nationals was provided per DFA Foreign Service Circular 22-10:
- Stateless persons
- It was clarified that denying entry into the country is not only confined to the island of Mindanao which is under Martial Law, per Immigration AO JHM2017 006, above nationals will also be restricted to:
- Areas of conflict - this is where Mindanao is currently classified under being under martial law
- Areas of international assembly - example: ASEAN, these nationals are denied entry into Manila during the ASEAN
- Places where the President and or other key officials of government are present - example: during visit of the President and PM Abe of Japan, entry into Davao was not allowed
- Other areas that may be identified by the commissioner or his authorized representative
It was explained further that the AO has no time frame. Restriction will apply anytime when any of the 4 conditions is present. For the Mindanao Martial Law, this is envisaged to end on 31 December 2017.
- Two points were then raised, what will be the procedure if a vessel is:
- Ships coming from outside Philippine territory and is already steaming to Mindanao
- Already at a port in Luzon or Visayas then bound for Mindanao.
No definite procedure was given, however it can be that either vessel is requested to drift outside or if allowed, to anchor while waiting for the immigration approval.
- If a vessel has restricted nationals on board, the initial inclination per policy is to deny entry. But in consideration of not inhibiting trade immigration may consider entry, but, the agent must:
- make an appeal to the immigration office and explain the legitimate purpose of the vessel's call. One suggestion from the authorities is to request owners to prove that the nationals in question do not have any record. It was suggested that documents from other foreign parties may help, such as a letter from the embassy/embassies of the particular individuals certifying their identity etc.
- The bureau has no set implementing guidelines yet on how they will manage a vessel with restricted crew that is granted entry. It is possible that they may put additional guards and or refuse issuance of shore passes.
- Having a visaed crewlist or visa does not guarantee entry. According to the Bureau, the DFA can issue a visa, but the final approval for entry will still be up to the immigration's enforcement of policy. For example: The applicant may obtain visa but if the person arrives at the airport or seaport and displays a behavior that shows reasonable cause to deny entry, it will be immigration's decision to deny entry/deportation.
Trading restrictions imposed against the Philippines
Trading restrictions imposed by the Philippines
Based on existing Philippine government regulations, vessels flying under Philippine flag and registered in the Philippines are exclusive carriers of all shipments by Philippine government such as coal, rice, etc. from foreign ports to Philippine ports. However, due to shortage of Philippine tonnage, the Philippine government has allowed foreign flag vessels to carry these cargoes subject to unavailability of Philippine flag vessels at time of shipment at load ports and owners/operators of foreign flag vessels are required to obtain flag waiver apporval from government authorities concerned.
Quote of Presidential decree on "Flag Waiver":
In compliance with PD 1466, all shipments by the Philippine government shall be made on board vessels of Philippine registry or vessels which are chartered by Philippine citizens or by a corporation or entity owned or controlled by a citizen of the Philippines. If no Philippine flag vessel is available at a resonable freight rate within ten (10) days after the cargo is ready for shipment, said shipment may be made on any vessel, provided that the prescribed waiver is secured by the supplier from the Philippine Shippers Bureau at least fifteen (15) calendar days before date of laoding by the foreign flag vessel.
The application for flag waiver shall be filed complete with all the necessary data and information at least fifteen (15) calendar days before arrival at loading port of the foreign flag vessel to be chartered.
The application for waiver shall be filed by importer or exporter with the office of the Philippine Shippers Bureau, Department of Trade and Industries, Manila.
Upon receipt by Philippine Shippers Bureau, they will contact all Philipino shipowners if there is Philippine flag vessel available/suitable to carry said cargo and can meet required laycan. If none, waiver shall be approved. In case there will be available Philippine flag vessel, same will be recommened to the charterers for negotiation and acceptance. Should negotiation fail for any reason, Philippine shipowner notifies Philippine Shippers Bureau: waiver shall be approved.
Following schedule of fines and penalties for violation or failure to secure flag waiver:
- First violation - PHP 50,000
- Second violation - PHP 100,000
- Third violation - PHP 200,000
- Fouth violation - PHP 300,000
- Fifth and succeeding violation - PHP 500,000
See also United Nations Security Council Resolutions