US Senator Richard Durbin to Duterte administration: New visa plan is an insult to Filipino American community

American Senator Richard Durbin urged the Duterte administration to free Senator Leila De Lima instead of implementing new visa rules for US citizens who wanted to enter the Philippine territory.

In a statement, Durbin who’s a Senator from Illinois mentioned that there are many Filipino-Americans are working in his place and making them required to get a visa before visiting the Philippines could affect them.

Like Senator Patrick Leahy, Durbin also suggested to the Philippine government to just free Senator Leila De Lima instead of putting new visa rules for Americans.

Durbin also described De Lima’s charges as “highly questionable”.

“Illinois is proudly home to a vibrant, hardworking Filipino community. The Duterte regime should stop threatening the travel of these Filipino Americans and so many others who travel between our nations, and instead release Senator de Lima or assure a quick and credible trial,” Durbin said.

“This strong-arm tactic is an insult to the Filipino American community and country’s democracy,” he added.

On December 27, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny Senator Durbin and Leahy from entering the Philippine territory for pushing for the entry-ban against government officials who were involved in the detention of De Lima.

The Duterte admin also said that if the US enforced the entry ban, they’re going to require all Americans to get a visa before being allowed to travel to the Philippines.

“Should a ban from entry into US territory be enforced against Philippine officials involved in – or by reason of – Senator de Lima’s lawful detention, this government will require all Americans intending to come to the Philippines to apply and secure a visa before they can enter Philippine territory,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

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