The Philippine mail order bride industry is flourishing, what makes this so surprising is that the government has made it illegal for companies to introduce foreign men to Filipina women for the purpose of marriage. The Philippine law, Republic Act- 6955, specifically prohibits mail order brides agencies along with all other practices that share the same intent.
The punishment for engaging in the international matchmaking business within the Philippines is quite serious. Upon conviction, an individual shall service a prison sentence for no less than six years and one day, but no more than eight years. Think that’s all, think again. In addition, the offending party shall be fined at least eight thousand pesos but no more than twenty thousand pesos. Furthermore, if the convicted individual is a foreigner, they will be deported immediately and barred forever from entering the country after leaving prison and paying the fine.
So how do companies get around the law? They state that they are catering to women, so rather than claiming to be a mail order bride agency, they state that they are a mail order husband agency. Another technique used to avoid persecution as explained in a 2002 Human Rights article written by Katherine Chung at Columbia University, is by having Filipina women circulate forms amongst each other to avoid trouble. In using this approach, the agency can say they were abiding by the law which forbids the advertising of women for marriage.
However, the legal system in foreign countries can often be unfair and be based on things other than fairness and transparency and the prospect of spending time in a Philippine prison should scare anyone away from even considering this option. Just because an agency tells you they have romance tours going to the Philippines or have a mail order husband office in Manilla is no guarantee or assurance against a legal official throwing you in jail. The threat of a serious prison sentence and fine though is not where is ends.
Ultimately, anyone marrying a Filippina will have to seek out a fiance or marriage visa through their national embassy. Upon setting up an appointment to speak to immigration officials, it is likely immigration agents will interview both parties individually. If there is any sense you are not being honest, not only will you not be issued a visa, you are likely to face legal prosecution. So if you met your fiance or wife through illegal means, do you think your likely to get away with it?