BI bars entry to Nigerian with fake passport at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2020   •   597

The departure hall of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2. (Photo: John Paul Solis / Wiki)

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have barred entry to a Nigerian national who tried to pass himself as a citizen of Malta by presenting a fake passport.

In a statement, BI travel control and enforcement unit Chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said the foreigner, identified as 30-year-old Onyebuchi Emmanuel Ukeje, was denied entry last February 4 upon his arrival at the NAIA terminal 2.

Barizo said the Nigerian had just arrived from Bangkok, Thailand when he was intercepted by immigration officials. The passenger allegedly presented a Maltese passport and identity card.

But immigration officials grew suspicious over the inconsistencies in Ukeje’s statements and referred him for a secondary inspection.

The bureau said the passenger later on admitted in the interview his true nationality and how he acquired his bogus travel papers in Malta for US$2,500 from a Maltese citizen of Nigerian descent.

Using his fake passport, he allegedly left Malta in late December and flew to South Africa and Bangkok before proceeding to Manila.

According to Ukeje, he secured the fake documents because he was facing a “terrible financial challenge in Malta” and wanted to leave “to start a new life”.

The BI’s forensic document laboratory, which examined his travel documents, certified that the Maltese passport he presented is counterfeit.

“He was denied entry and was included in our immigration blacklist for using a spurious immigration document which is a blatant violation of our immigration laws,” Barizo said.

The immigration bureau reiterated its warning against foreigners who plan on using fake documents to enter the country.

Foreigners’ unused entry exemptions docs considered expired starting June 1 – BI

Marje Pelayo   •   May 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Starting June 1, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that foreign nationals with entry exemption documents (EEDs) issued before February 8 this year will no longer be allowed entry.

In an advisory, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the BI will implement the said travel guidelines pursuant to a communication received from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“We were informed by the DFA that entry exemption documents now have a validity of 90 days from the date of issuance,” said Morente.

“As an effect, we were informed that all issued before February 8 are deemed expired by June 1,” he added.

Thus, aliens who are still holding said EEDs that remain unused must enter the country on or before May 31.

Meanwhile, entry exemptions issued by the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) during the travel ban from March 22 to April 30 may still be used until May 31.

BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong said this was allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in a resolution passed earlier this month which ruled that entry exemptions issued by the NTF shall be recognized as valid until May 31.

Capulong added that in compliance with the IATF-MEID resolution, all 9(A) visa holders, as well Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV) holders, are required to secure entry exemptions from the DFA to be allowed entry into the Philippines.

BI warns aspiring OFWs against ‘third-country recruitment’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has warned aspiring overseas Filipino workers not to fall prey to modus operandi being done by unscrupulous agencies.

The warning came after authorities intercepted several trafficking victims of the so-called ‘third-country recruitment.’

Morente cited a report from the Bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) in Manila and Pampanga which bared an emerging modus of Filipino female workers presenting work documents bound for Maldives, but are actually bound for the UAE.

According to Morente, this ‘third-country recruitment’ sends OFWs to work in a particular country, but are later illegally transported to another country to work there.

The official said rescued trafficking victims from war-torn countries such as Syria were usually victims of the said scheme.

On May 4, TCEU officers from NAIA Terminal 3 reported the interception of two female OFWs — a 26 year old and another 33 — who presented valid overseas employment certificates (OECs), work visas for Maldives, employment contracts, and itineraries bound for Maldives.

However, upon verification with online systems, it was discovered that both victims were in possession of valid tourist visas for the UAE.

Both of the victims admitted that they received their documents only prior to departure, and one of the victims stated that she was instructed by their recruiter to conceal her UAE visa.

She admitted that they applied for a job as domestic helpers, but were given documents for a position as sales assistants in Maldives.

On May 16, TCEU officers from Clark International Airport, on the other hand, intercepted another two female victims aged 34 and 36.

Both presented documents to work in Maldives as an attendant and a receptionist, but were found to be in possession of visas for the UAE.

One of the victims admitted that she was promised work as a cleaner in UAE, and that she paid P37,000 to her recruiter for the processing of her travel documents.

Her companion, who was repatriated from the UAE in 2020, admitted to heading back to work as a household service worker, and has paid P50,000 to her recruiter.

“When we intercept such cases, we furnish the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration a copy of our report, and we are very thankful that they have been very active in suspending or cancelling the accreditation of the erring agency,” said Morente.

“Stopping these illegal schemes really needs the cooperation of different government agencies that must work hand in hand to eliminate this societal ill,” he added.

The victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and filing of appropriate charges against their recruiters.

Immigration Bureau to impose travel ban expansion in 4 countries starting May 7

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has expanded its restriction to travelers from four countries beginning May 7.

In an advisory, the Immigration Bureau announced that they will be implementing restrictions for travelers coming from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh starting May 7.

However, passengers who will only be transiting through India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, will be allowed to enter. They will only be required to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine.

“Those who would be coming prior to May 7 will be allowed, but will be referred to the appropriate agencies to undergo a strict absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine and RT-PCR testing,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong clarified that the spouse and children of Filipinos or former Filipinos who are traveling to the Philippines without the Filipino or former Filipino spouse or parent may only be allowed upon the presentation of a valid 9(a) visa and an exemption document from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“This is in compliance with the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, temporarily banning the entry of aliens holding temporary visitors’ visas,” said Capulong. -AAC

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