Manila (AsiaNews) – The Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) recently apprehended and fined six Taiwanese Buddhist monks who were allegedly caught working in the country without obtaining missionary working visas. The Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan named the monks as Yu I-Shin, Chen Hsiu Hsiang, Hong Yi Chuen, Kuo Kin Hsiu Mei, Lai Pao Hsiu, and Shih Kua Cha. They were each asked to pay a fine of P10,000 (160 euros).
Temple officials reportedly admitted that the monks were in the country to conduct missionary work and the only compensation they receive was free board and lodging. Libanan declared: “Even if were in the country to comply with their religious obligations, this was not an excuse for them to violate immigration laws”.
If they are caught committing the same offence, they would be “dealt with severely,” he added. In fact, “all who came here to perform missionary or religious work to apply for the appropriate visa because the law does not exempt them from complying with our immigration laws”.
According to immigration laws, “foreign religious preachers or workers who come here must apply for a missionary visa, which is different from the commercial or pre-arranged employment visa.