MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is set to deport a total of 372 foreigners in several batches.

Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the BI is finalizing the deportation of 331 Chinese nationals and 41 other nationals rounded up in separate operations of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Pasig and Angeles last September.

He added that 43 of the foreigners have been turned over to the BI, while the rest remain in the custody of the arresting agency.

Remulla said the BI’s Board of Commissioners has issued a summary deportation order for the 372.

According to BI’s procedures, deportees must not have a pending case in the Philippines and must possess a valid travel document.

The BI reported that it has coordinated with the NBI and the Chinese Embassy, requesting the expeditious release of the required documents.

After completing the documentation, their departure can be scheduled with the costs to be shouldered by the deportees.

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said they have initiated the visa cancellation of 48,782 aliens who were working in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) companies and service providers whose authority to operate has either been canceled or revoked by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

“Upon receipt of the information from PAGCOR, we immediately started cross-checking their employees to determine which ones are still in the country,” Tansingco said in a news release on Sunday. “While this is a laborious task as we have to check each and every record, we are confident that this could be completed in a month.”

Tansingco said as an effect of the visa cancellation, the aliens will be ordered to leave instead of being deported.

“This is the regular procedure for canceled visas, and this is actually more economical and faster, as the costs for their departure will be shouldered by the aliens themselves,” he said.

“In visa cancellation, aliens are given 59 days to depart the country,” he said. “If they fail to leave, it is then that we initiate deportation proceedings.”

The BI expects the cancellation of visas to be finalized in batches and warns those whose visas will be canceled to depart the country lest face deportation.

The BI clarified that foreigners with valid visas and are complying with Philippine laws should not be worried, as the agency is targeting only those who have violated the law.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it supports the BI move as it reiterated its mission to maintain a safe and secure society -- free from crime and wrongdoings.

“We must create a safe haven for the Filipino people to enjoy and be productive,” DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a separate news release.

Operations against POGO may have an effect on the economy but given the numerous reports of murder, kidnapping and other criminal activities, Remulla said it is a no-brainer that illegal aliens must be kicked out.

“Even so, the Department will be sure to coordinate with the National Economic team to mitigate any negative effects on the country,” he said. (PNA)