Malacañang: We respect U.S. immigration ban

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it will "respect" the United States' newly-implemented immigration ban covering citizens from 7 Muslim-majority countries, a Palace spokesperson said Sunday, January 29.

US President Donald Trump on Friday, January 27, signed a sweeping executive order to suspend the arrival of refugees and impose tough new controls on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

"In the first place, we respect the policy of the United States of America if they have prohibitions or they would be banning people from entering their country because that is their right," Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Paz Banaag said in an interview on dzRB.

"And they have naman the visa 'di ba (And they have the visa, don't they)?" Banaag said. "They have regulations on who are qualified to go to their country."

She said it would be best to let "the [Department of Foreign Affairs] negotiate on that matter."

"We would respect kung ano man ang regulasyon ng embahada o ng US on that matter," she continued. (We would respect whatever the regulation of the embassy or of the US would be on that matter.)

Trump's decree – which he says aims to make America safe from "radical Islamic terrorists" – specifically says no visas will be issued for 90 days to migrants or visitors from the 7 Muslim states.

It also bars Syrian refugees indefinitely, or until Trump himself decides that they no longer pose a threat.

His decree suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for at least 120 days while tough new vetting rules are established.

The situation has been complicated by a US federal judge, who ordered authorities on Saturday, January 28, to stop deporting refugees and other travelers stuck at US airports. – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com