EU political party official barred from entering PH

BARRED FROM ENTERING. Party of European Socialists (PES) deputy secretary general Giacomo Filibeck is barred from entering the Philippines on April 15, 2018.

All photos from Akbayan

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Party of European Socialists (PES) was barred from entering the Philippines on Sunday, April 15.

Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the PES, was held and immediately deported by immigration officials at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, according to Akbayan.

An invited guest, Filibeck was supposed to join the Akbayan Partylist Congress to be held on Monday, April 16, in Cebu City. PES is a sister party of Akbayan. 

The slip handed to Filibeck shows that he is required to fulfill the "Black List Order (BLO) Lifting" before he can enter the Philippines. 

He was one of at least 20 foreign guests. But according to Akbayan's Justine Balane, Filibeck was the only one barred from entering.

"He was blacklisted by the Philippine government as he was part of the international solidarity mission in October 2017 where they denounced the killings," Balane told Rappler in a text message. 

"Now the Philippine government is accusing him of 'illegal political activities,'" he added.

Rappler has tried to reach the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Cebu, but several calls to different numbers were left unanswered. 

BLO. A slip given to Giacomo Filibeck shows he is blacklisted in the Philippines.

'Unfortunate, shameful'

A BLO, according to the BI website, "disallows a foreign national entry into the Philippines." It added that one of the common reasons for inclusion in the list is violating immigration laws of the country.

In a statement on Sunday, Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin said he would file a House resolution seeking a probe into Filibeck's "shameful" deportation.

"This unfortunate incident only shows how paranoid this government is in keeping the rest of the world blind from the damage President Duterte has done to our country. Poor Filipinos get killed. Local dissenters get harassed. Now, foreign critics get deported," Villarin said.

Filibeck's PES earlier condemned the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. 

He was part of the delegation, together with members of other European human rights organizations, who went to the Philippines in October 2017 to probe alleged human rights violations.

It was the same mission which Duterte wrongly linked to the European Union (EU), threatening to expel EU diplomats from the country in the process. (READ: Wrong info leads Duterte to threaten EU diplomats)

Filibeck has been involved with several organizations based in the EU. From 2002 to 2009, he served as president of the European Youth Forum, before joining the international department of Partito Democratico in Italy.

Prior to joining the PES, Filibeck served as the international relations director of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. –