Philippines bans two U.S. senators, mulls new visa rules for Americans

Philippines bans two U.S. senators, mulls new visa rules for Americans
# 27 December 2019 12:18 (UTC +04:00)

The Philippines has banned two U.S. lawmakers from visiting and will introduce tighter entry restrictions for U.S. citizens should Washington enforce sanctions over the detention of a top government critic, the president’s spokesman said on Friday, APA reports citing Reuters.

President Rodrigo Duterte will impose a requirement on U.S. nationals to get visas should any Philippine officials involved in the incarceration of Senator Leila de Lima be denied entry to the United States, as sought by U.S. senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy.

Duterte’s move comes after the U.S. Congress approved a 2020 budget that contains a provision introduced by the senators against anyone involved in holding de Lima, who was charged with drug offences in early 2017 after she led an investigation into mass killings during Duterte’s notorious anti-drugs crackdown.

“We will not sit idly if they continue to interfere with our processes as a sovereign state,” Philippine presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a regular news conference.

The Philippines grants visa-free entry for up to 30 days to Americans, 792,000 of whom visited in the first nine months of 2019, nearly 13% of foreign arrivals, government data showed.

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