3 passengers bound for Jeju, South Korea stopped at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 29, 2020   •   604

MANILA, Philippines – Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted three male passengers allegedly attempting to leave for Jeju, South Korea in the guise of being tourists.

The Bureau of Immigration’s travel control and enforcement unit (BI-TCEU) said the trio were stopped at the departure area of NAIA Terminal 1 on January 22 before they could board their flight to Hong Kong en route to Jeju.

BI-TCEU chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said the three passengers initially claimed they are working in the country and that they were going to the popular holiday destination in Korea for a vacation.

“But what sparked the curiosity of our officers is when the trio showed seemingly-spurious company IDs that… they showed as proof of local employment,” Barizo said.

The three also appeared to not know each other despite presenting themselves as traveling companions, she added.

When questioned, Barizo said the trio later admitted that they were recruited by a man they met on Facebook and who convinced them to book their flight to Korea.

“There was no assurance, however, that jobs really awaited them upon arriving in Jeju. They were just told that somebody would contact them when they arrived there,” Barizo said.

“They were promised work as radish farmers, and were offered huge salaries,” she added.

The immigration official also said the passengers have admitted they each spent P30,000 in engaging the services of a tour operator, which their recruiter said would book their flight and arrange their trip to Jeju.

“They were duped by their recruiter and travel agents who were only after their money,” Barizo added.

The men were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation, the BI said.

PH Immigration bans 11 ‘overstaying’ Chinese nationals

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Eleven Chinese nationals have been ordered blacklisted for overstaying in the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Monday.

In a statement, the BI said the Chinese nationals were ordered to leave the country for exceeding their stay.

They also meted fines and penalties, the bureau added.

“These aliens are now barred from re-entering the Philippines for violating the conditions of their stay,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

“They were allowed to come here by availing a visa upon arrival (VUA), yet they abused that privilege by overstaying without valid reason and justification at all,” he added.

It was learned that the blacklisted Chinese nationals arrived in the Philippines on separate dates in November 2019 and December 2020.

They recently appeared at the BI main office in Manila to update their stay and present plane tickets manifesting their intention to leave the country when visa officers noted the violation, the BI said.

Under the rules, tourists issued with VUA are allowed to travel and stay in the Philippines for not more than 30 days.

The BI, however, suspended the implementation of the VUA in January to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

“The scheme remains suspended as the government continues to restrict the entry of foreign tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the bureau added.

P4.5 million worth of shabu seized in Pasay City

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has seized 640 grams of shabu (crystal meth) estimated to worth P4.5 million in a warehouse in Pasay City.

The contraband was found in an unclaimed parcel at the DHL warehouse.

The BOC said the seized illegal drug was concealed inside tin cans of wafer and packs of chocolates, stuffed toys, candies and slippers to avoid detection.

It was shipped from Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States and consigned to a certain resident of Hagonoy, Bulacan.

However, its contents were detected through “intensified vigilance and profiling BOC-NAIA” and coordinated with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG).

Chemical Laboratory Analysis conducted by PDEA confirmed that the seized white crystalline substance were indeed methamphetamine hydrochloride.

The BOC said the items have been turned over to the PDEA on Sept. 24 for further profiling and case build-up against those behind its importation for possible prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

7 alleged human trafficking victims intercepted at NAIA – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently intercepted seven Filipinos who were suspected of being victims of human trafficking.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Filipino women were bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The agency’s travel control and enforcement unit stopped the women from leaving last Sept. 17 when they were about to board a flight to Dubai.

The bureau said three of the women were allegedly hired to work as caregivers in the UAE while the remaining four were recruited to work as marketing and sales agents for an interior design company.

The women attempted to leave by posing as first-time overseas Filipino workers but the papers they presented turned out to be fraudulent, the BI added.

“Verification made on the overseas employment certificates (OECs) they presented revealed that some of them are not in the records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), while the others appear to have been issued to other persons,” BI-TCEU Chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said.

A check of the passengers’ UAE visas showed that they were traveling to Dubai only as tourists and not as workers, she added.

The women, whose names could not be divulged following anti-trafficking laws, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

Morente once again warned those who want to work abroad not to deal with unregistered agencies or recruiters as these shady characters are employed by human traffickers to recruit their victims.

“We were told that these intercepted victims all said that they met their handlers and recruiters via social media and that their travel papers were only handed to them a few days before their scheduled flights,” he said.

“They did not know that these fraudulent papers could result in interception by our officers,” he added.

The BI chief earlier said that human traffickers have resumed their nefarious activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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