Deferment of implementation of new travel rules sought amid public concerns

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — Sen. Grace Poe called on the government to postpone the implementation of the revised guidelines for Filipinos traveling abroad following criticisms that the new rules are too strict.

In a statement on Wednesday, Poe said the "lingering doubts and questions about the new rules must not be swept under the rug."

READ: What you need to know about the new requirements for Filipinos traveling overseas

"Authorities must make traveling through our airports secure against human traffickers, but without being too complicated," said the senator, who chairs the Senate committee on public services.

Poe stressed the need to revisit the new protocols, including the travelers' need to prove they have the capacity to fund their overseas trips, which she described as already "serious enough to merit a thorough review."

The lawmaker also pointed out that the "long list" of required documents puts an additional burden on travelers.

"We welcome the move to address delays and inefficiencies at our airports and curb the scourge of human trafficking. But doing so should not be at the expense of legitimate Filipino travelers," she added.

Poe said the agencies must focus on boosting the capacity of immigration officers to spot trafficking, eradicating corrupt and inefficient personnel, as well as bolstering security at borders.

Last week, another solon lambasted the new guidelines of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

OFW Party-list Rep. Marissa "Del Mar" Magsino said the new rules would "entail a lot of inconveniences" to Filipino travelers as some documents seem "too difficult to acquire."

READ: Revised guidelines for overseas Pinoy travelers too strict, inconvenient - lawmaker