An American tourist who the Philippines claimed had written “profane words” on an electronic immigration form and had been impolite to immigration officials has been placed under permanent restriction.
Following his allegedly “disrespectful” behavior, Anthony Laurence, 34, was denied entrance and placed on a permanent blacklist, according to a statement released last week by Philippine Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco.
According to the statement, on November 7, Laurence arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the capital city, via an Air Asia flight from Bangkok, Thailand.
When instructed to complete an online travel form, he allegedly “showed disdain” toward one immigration official and threw his passport and cell phone at another, according to Philippine authorities.
Laurence, an investor in real estate who occasionally visits the nation, told CNN he doesn’t agree with the immigration authorities’ story.
“After verifying [Laurence’s information] in our system, the officer discovered that the passenger had keyed in a made-up address in the Philippines, did not include his full name, and input profane words in his entry,” stated Immigration Commissioner Tansingco in his statement.
He continued by saying that although immigration officials had been instructed to be as tolerant as possible, the foreign national had “overstepped his boundaries.”
The commissioner declared, “Such behavior not only undermines the efficiency of the system but is also disrespectful.”
“Our organization is dedicated to providing travelers with a flawless experience. We anticipate that everyone will act with dignity and follow the set protocols. Any infraction of these protocols will face severe consequences,” he continued.
Laurence, however, contests the story, claiming that he didn’t hurl anything or yell during the incident.
He claimed that after requesting assistance from the immigration agents, he was sent away because he was unable to get his phone’s travel form to function properly.
He claimed that after three unsuccessful efforts to complete the paperwork, he got impatient and submitted false information in an effort to “shortly get through immigration” so that he could catch his connecting flight to Cebu. This time, the application was successful.
“I apologized right away, and the immigration officer wasn’t interested,” he added.
Laurence said, “I even wrote the immigration officer a handwritten apology, but he wasn’t interested in it either.
Laurence claimed that the Philippine authorities had overreacted and that they had denied him the right to a fair trial. He also stated that he had not received an official notification of the ban.
He made reference to media accounts of the meeting and said, “In fact, I learned much of the government’s position from the articles they published about me and not from them directly.”
He simply mentioned that he would now need to sell his real estate holdings in the Philippines, without revealing if he intended to go back there.
The Immigration Bureau reports that in 2023, it banned and excluded 44 foreign nationals that it considered to be “disrespectful.”