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Visa changes in the Philippines is a concern for missionaries

By February 7, 2005

Philippines (MNN) — Changes in the immigration law in the Philippines is a concern to missionaries serving there. The changes could mean limited ministry opportunities for foreign missionaries.

Send International’s Philippines Director Phil Burns says the changes were proposed in September. “Basically the gist of it came down to that all missionary workers would be limited to one, five-year term of duty here in the Philippines, non-renewable. Well, that sent quite a panic through the missionary community. In December, they did extend it for one renewal, but that still would play great havoc with the missionary community here to be limited to an absolute 10-year window.”

Burns says since the memo was issued, there has been some good news. “The commissioner has indefinitely postponed the implementation of the order, but it’s for the purpose of consulting with both some of the Catholic and some of the evangelical groups that this would severely impact.”

Terrorism and other illegal activity are the reasons for the strict guidelines. But, Burns is hopeful and he’s asking people to pray. “It looks very promising. The fact that the commissioner has indefinitely postponed the implementation of the order and the fact that it’s across the board, it’s not just the evangelicals, even the Catholic Bishops have come out and said they see some concerns.”

A meeting is scheduled for the 21st of February to iron out the issue. Pray that all the issues will be addressed and that missionaries will be able to continue working long-term in the Philippines.

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