BI intercepts 13 holders of fake airline tickets bound for HK

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2019   •   1994

FILE PHOTO: Ninoy Aquino International Airport

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has warned the public to be wary of scammers following the arrest of 13 Filipino passengers bound for Hong Kong caught in possession of fake airline tickets at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were intercepted last Monday (July 8) at the airline counter of Cathay Pacific at the NAIA 3 terminal.

According to the BI, the passengers were scammed and only found out about it at the airport after the attending airline personnel discovered that their tickets were not encoded in their system.

“It seems that they are victims of a scammers who prey on the public by selling fake tickets at cheap prices to entice their victims,” Medina said.

According to the initial investigation by the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), the passengers pointed at one of their woman companions as the person who enticed them to buy the plane tickets.

The woman, however, said she was not aware that the tickets were bogus.

She also couldn’t present credentials of the person who offered her the bogus tickets whom she knew only by the name ‘Jennifer’.

BI TCEU Chief Timotea Barizo confirmed also that their hotel bookings were cancelled as well.

“They were also allegedly told to wear T-shirts bearing the name of a herbal product during their trip and were instructed to take off the shirts after they are cleared by Immigration,” said Barizo.

“It was done to make it seem like they were on an official company trip abroad. Why would they be instructed to misrepresent themselves if there was no ill intention?” she added.

Barizo suspects that they have been victimized by illegal recruiters who promised jobs abroad.

All 13 passengers were eventually turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

Immigration bureau bars NAIA personnel from going on leave until Jan. 31

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2022

Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have been barred from taking vacation leaves until the end of January to maximize its manpower at the premiere port, an official from the agency said.

In a statement, Atty. Carlos Capulong, BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief, said a directive has been issued extending up to January 31 the period within which immigration personnel at the NAIA are banned from going on leaves.

The said ban, which started last December 16 before the 2021 holiday break, was supposed to lapse last January 15.

Capulong said the ban on filing vacation leaves has been extended for two more weeks as the number of BI officers at the airport infected with COVID-19 has soared in the past few days.

He stressed the directive was necessary to ensure unhampered airport operations amid increasing number of immigration personnel who tested positive for the virus or are in quarantine.

“No application for leave during this period will be entertained or approved, and all filed leaves are hereby cancelled to ensure that we have enough personnel to service the traveling public,” Capulong said.

The BI said that as of Monday, January 17, a total of 138 BI-POD personnel have tested positive for the virus. An additional 129 employees remain on quarantine while waiting for the results of their swab tests.

On the other hand, 99 other personnel tested negative and have already returned to work.

Last week, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued an advisory downgrading its office operations to 30% worksite capacity due to the spike in COVID-19 infections in its offices.

 

PH Immigration offices lowers worksite capacity to 30% amid spike in COVID cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced it will be downgrading its onsite workforce to at least 30% starting January 13.

In an advisory, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the reduced workforce will be implemented until January 22 in response to the spike in COVID-19 infections plaguing BI offices.

The bureau earlier reported 251 active cases among its personnel. Of the said number, 135 are assigned at the airport, 91 at the BI’s office in Intramuros, while 25 were from other BI offices.

A total of 269 of BI airport personnel are also under quarantin and awaiting results of their COVID-19 testing.

Morente said he sought Department of Justice Secretary Guevarra’s approval to lower the number of onsite employees in compliance with directives from the Palace.

“We thank Secretary Menardo Guevarra for considering our plight and approving our request to temporarily downgrade our workforce amidst this surge,” said Morente.

“The high number of BI personnel getting sick with COVID-19 is really affecting our operations,” he added.

The BI said all its offices shall continue to be open during weekdays, from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, despite the reduced workforce.

Employees working offsite are reminded to observe the guidelines for applicable alternative work arrangements as set by the Civil Service Commission.

“We hope that the public bears with us as we reduce our manpower during this surge,” said Morente.

“Our frontliners are getting sick, but we will make sure that the delivery of our services remain unhampered,” he added.

The advisory also stated that fully vaccinated clients are exempted from the Bureau’s Online Appointment System, upon presentation of their vaccination card or certification. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated clients are advised to continue securing their appointment online via http://e-services.immigration.gov.ph/.

Registered aliens reporting for the Annual Report 2022 are required to secure an appointment online.

Filipinos, Americans top holiday arrivals

Maris Federez   •   December 27, 2021

PASAY, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday reported that Filipinos top airport arrivals for December 2021.

BI data showed that 141,216 Filipinos, mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived during the holiday season, according to a BI statement released December 27.

This was followed by Americans with 12,455 arrivals, Canadians with 2,805, and Japanese with 1,645.

“This is expected since many of our kababayans who are now living abroad wish to spend the holidays here with their families,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong, meanwhile, said that arrivals for December 24 and 25 doubled compared to last year’s figures.

“Last year, there were only 5,478 arrivals for the two days, while this year, it increased 100% to 11,074 for the Christmas eve and Christmas day,” said Capulong.

“While the numbers are still relatively low, we are confident that this increase will continue until next year, given the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign,” he stated.

Capulong also thanked immigration officers who were on duty during the holiday.

“Our officers sacrifice their time with their families to render their duty and provide service for incoming and outgoing passengers,” said Capulong.

Frontliners were barred from going on vacations during the peak season, the statement said.

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