American tourist banned for life from the Philippines over alleged profanities on immigration form

  • 13.12.2023 22:01
  • Bruno Arcos

The Philippines has imposed a lifetime ban on an American tourist, accusing him of using “profane words” on a digital immigration form and showing disrespectful behavior towards immigration officers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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According to Yahoo News, Philippine Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco stated that Anthony Laurence, a 34-year-old property investor, was refused entry and permanently blacklisted following an incident on November 7. Authorities accused Laurence of demonstrating “disdain” towards an immigration officer who reminded him to fill out an online travel form, and tossing his passport and mobile phone at another agent.

Tansingco further explained that after verifying Laurence’s information in the system, the officer had discovered that the passenger had put in a made-up address and hadn’t included his full name. However, what really sealed the deal was the fact that the tourist also made sure to include profane words in his form, with the commissioner citing Laurence’s behavior as disrespectful and as a hurdle to the process.

However, Laurence disputes the official account, asserting that he neither threw anything nor raised his voice during the incident. Furthermore, he claimed to have sought help from immigration officers after struggling with the form on his phone, but was turned away. Laurence admitted he got frustrated though, since he had a connecting flight to Cebu in a short timeframe. He also stated that after three failed attempts to complete the form, he entered incorrect information to test if the system was working. Unfortunately for him, the information went through. After noticing what had just happened, he allegedly apologized, even hand-writing an apology to the immigration officer.

The American tourist ended up accusing Philippine authorities of overreacting and depriving him of a fair response. Moreover, he claims he wasn’t given any official document informing him of the ban. He also did not disclose whether he planned to try to return to the Philippines or not, only adding that he would now have to give up on his property investments in the country. For now, it remains to be seen whether the ban is already in effect or if there is still some light at the end of the tunnel for Laurence.

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