TRAVELERS TO U.S. BRINGING PIRATED DVDs TO FACE VISA-CANCELLATION

MANILA, October 8, 2005
 (STAR) The Department of Foreign Affairs Thursday reiterated the warning issued by the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. to all Filipino travelers to the United States against bringing into the country any pirated item or items.

The Philippine Embassy said that based on the travel advisory from the U.S. Commercial Service, anyone bringing into the US any pirated item or items “would face automatic deportation in violation of intellectual property rights, or arrest and criminal prosecution, in addition to civil fines and penalties.” The Embassy further warned that: “Please remember that even ONE pirated item could jeopardize your trip.”

Based on the advisory, the Philippine Embassy said that US Customs officials are also looking into fake bags like Louis Vitton, Coach, Gucci, Prada, etc. but even cosmetics, too!

And not only pirated VCD/DVDs are on the hot list, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) has also alerted the American customs officers to check out for pirated books.

For this reason, the Philippine Embassy reiterated the warning from the U.S. Commercial Service to all nursing graduates who plan to take the NCLEX and CGF exams in the US not to bring in these pirated books because there will be a penalty of automatic deportation as violation of intellectual property rights.

This warning goes especially to anyone going from the Philippines and coming back to the US with “pasalubong and padalas,” the advisory added.

The advisory cited a report that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) searched the bag of a Filipino entering the US on NW 72 in Detroit.

During the search, 70-80 compact discs, 30-40 empty DVD jackets and 10-20 DVDs were found. Since the travelers were not American citizens, their visas were canceled and they returned to the Philippines.

If they had been Americans, they could have been subject to arrest and criminal prosecution in addition to civil fines and penalties, the advisory added.

The Philippine Embassy further reminded Filipinos traveling to the US that, also based on the advisory, the fingerprinting system has successfully been instituted in all port of entries and they would bring extra identification cards in addition to the Philippine passport to facilitate the entry in the US Immigration.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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