3 women hired as bar girls in Hong Kong intercepted at NAIA – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2020   •   528

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have foiled another human trafficking attempt after they intercepted three women who were purportedly hired as bar girls in Hong Kong.

The BI on Sunday said the three females were stopped from leaving the country on the morning of January 10, Friday at the NAIA Terminal 1 while they were about to board their flight.

The bureau said the female passengers attempted to leave in the guise of being tourists but immigration officers referred them for a secondary inspection after noting numerous inconsistencies in their statements.

The BI added the trio initially presented fake tickets, as well as posed as employees of a travel agency.

“It was during the interview that they admitted they were going to work in Hong Kong and that they were promised salaries of 500 Hong Kong dollars a day,” BI travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) head Ma. Timotea Barizo said.

The Bureau learned that the women were recruited by a female agent whom they only met on Facebook.

They also admitted they each spent P15,000 for their plane tickets but the cost of processing their travel documents was shouldered by their recruiter whom they will pay through salary deduction.

“This is a trick being used by human traffickers,” said Barizo. “Indebting victims for the cost of their recruitment essentially forces them into debt bondage. They have no choice but to work long hours, only to pay off their so-called debt.”

The BI said the intercepted female passengers were eventually turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

Number of int’l travelers in PH down by 95% since start of quarantine – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The number of international passengers who entered and exited the country since the start of the community quarantine dropped by at least 95% compared to figures recorded in the same period last year, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said passenger arrival volume from March 16 to June 30 decreased by more than 96% while departure declined by 95% due to suspension of international flights and imposition of travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We do not foresee these statistics to rise in the near future while the entire world is still fighting to defeat this coronavirus,” Morente said.

In the same statement, Immigration Deputy Spokesperson and BI National Operations Center (BINOC) acting chief Melvin Mabulac disclosed that only 189,000 passengers arrived from March 16 to June 30, which is a far cry from the more than 5.16 million passengers who arrived in the same period in 2019.

He also said that only 238,000 passengers left the country during the period compared to the 5.18 million who departed in that time last year.

Mabulac said the bulk of passengers arrived and departed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) because all other international ports were closed during the lockdown.

He said it was only in June that the government allowed international flights to resume at the Clark and Mactan airports.

“Also included in these figures are the more than 16,000 seafarers who disembarked after being quarantined aboard their vessels anchored at the Manila Bay,” Mabulac said.

BI eyes deportation case against Chinese woman who hit a Makati traffic enforcer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has recommended the deportation of the Chinese woman who went viral for hitting a traffic enforcer and a biker in Makati City.

Immigration acting spokesperson Melvin Mabulac reiterated that foreign nationals staying in the Philippines should also follow the law. There will be no special treatment and no exceptions for them, Mabulac said.

Hindi po ibig sabihin ay isang dayuhan siya ay may espesyal siyang batas. Kung ano ang batas na pinatutupad po sa isang ordinaryong Pilipino, dapat sundin po ng kahit sino pang dayuhan na nandito sa ating bansa, (It does not mean that foreign nationals have a special law. The law followed by an ordinary Filipino should also be followed by any foreign national here in the country),” he said.

Authorities have also discovered that the Chinese woman identified as Dong Li is only under a tourist visa and has not followed the necessary requirements to update her status. The Immigration cited overstaying and disrespect to authority as grounds for deporting Dong.

Basically, dalawa po ang tinitingnan natin. Siya po ay overstaying at the same time, iyong undersirability. Klarong-klaro naman po doon sa social media, at naging viral pa naman, iyong disrespect sa authority. Bawal na bawal po iyan (Basically, we are looking into two (violations). She is overstaying and, at the same time, there is undesirability. It is clear in the viral post on social media that she disrespected a person of authority. That is prohibited),Mabulac said.

The agency already recommended to their legal division the filing of appropriate cases for Li’s deportation. –AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Immigration bureau installs more CCTV cams in PH airports

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is installing additional closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in international airports in the country as part of its efforts to improve passenger monitoring capability and prevent corruption among its port personnel.

In a statement, the BI said more than a hundred CCTV cameras were already installed at Terminals 2 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mactan-Cebu International Airports, and Clark International Airport.

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, bureau’s port operations acting chief Grifton Medina said the CCTVs operate 24-hours a day in all immigration counters at the arrival and departure areas of the four airports, where all activities and movements of people captured by the cameras are recorded on real time basis.

The agency said several CCTV cameras will also be installed at the Davao International Airport, as well as in the ports of Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Bohol-Panglao, Zamboanga, and Subic.

According to Morente, the project is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders to institute more effective measures to monitor passenger movement and the actions of immigration personnel on duty at the airports.

“These CCTVs are effective deterrents against corruption as our officers will now be wary and discouraged to commit irregularities as all their actions will surely be caught on camera,” the BI Chief said.

Medina also reported that CCTVs previously installed at the NAIA Terminal 1 will be rehabilitated as part of the second phase of the project, which will be followed by the putting up of new cameras in several other international ports.

Aside from the ports, CCTVs were also put up at the bureau’s satellite and extension offices in Quezon City, Taguig and Makati Cities.

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