By Perla Lena

PROBE. The Sangguniang Panlungsod will convene as a committee of the whole to investigate the presence of illegal immigrants in Iloilo City. Councilor Romel Duron, in pushing for the investigation during their regular session on Wednesday (July 3, 2024), expressed alarm over crimes and illegal activities possibly linked to illegal immigrants. (Photo courtesy of Iloilo City Council FB page)

ILOILO CITY – The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) will convene as a committee of the whole to investigate the reported presence of several illegal immigrants here.

This developed as Councilor Romel Duron pushed for a resolution calling for an investigation of undocumented immigrants involved in illegal activities in the city.

In his resolution, Duron asked the committee to invite all agencies involved and even homeowners associations of subdivisions where the presence of foreigners leasing houses is reported.

“It’s not only illegal immigrants but illegal activities are also happening in our city, more so with the ongoing Senate investigation on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO),” he said.

“In the past months here in Iloilo, there were illegal immigrants engaging in illegal activities; some were even apprehended. There are reports that in some subdivisions, there are many foreigners occupying or leasing, who could not speak English or Hiligaynon.”

In a follow-up interview, Duron said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) should explain why many tourists are working in the city when their visas are only good for 30 days.

The council will also invite the Department of Labor and Employment to validate reports that these foreigners were able to secure certification from the agency.

The councilor expressed alarm over crimes and illegal activities linked to illegal immigrants, like human trafficking, crime against women and their children, and drugs, among others.

“Maybe, as of now, it is not rampant, but when ignored, it might happen to us,” he added.

Last year, the City Drugs Enforcement Unit of the Iloilo City Police Office with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center of the Department of Information and Communications Technology arrested 17 Chinese nationals for operating a suspected cybersex den in Barangay Lawa-an in Jaro District.

Duron said he would confer with Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon about the schedule of the investigation. He hoped that this should be held sooner. (With reports from Eljolene T. Tacadao/WVSU OJT/ PNA))