BI intercepts suspected human trafficking victim at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020   •   510

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have rescued a suspected human trafficking victim attempting to depart the country.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the female passenger was intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 1 on March 6 while she was attempting to board a flight to Singapore.  

Morente said the victim, whose name was withheld for her protection, was initially referred for verification to the on-duty immigration supervisor, as she attempted to enter the airport departure area.

“The supervisor noticed that the stamps on the passenger’s passport and boarding pass were spurious. Upon further verification, they have discovered that the stamp used was not a registered stamp,” he said.

The passenger later confessed that she did not undergo immigration inspection, and that she was intending to travel to Dubai for work under a job application with a certain agent named “Rency”.

“She was instructed to meet the agent at a fast food chain in the airport’s departure area. The agent got a hold of her passport and boarding pass, and gave them back to her with fake stamps,” BI Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. said.

Manahan added that human traffickers would affix fake stamps in the passengers’ passports and boarding passes, so that their victims, when asked by authorities, could pretend they have already undergone the required immigration departure formalities.

“Since human traffickers could not provide the passengers with proper documents to work abroad, this is their cheap attempt to get their victims to evade immigration inspection,” he said.

The victim has been endorsed to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for proper assistance in filing a criminal complaint against her recruiter, the BI said.

The bureau also reiterated its advise for the public to only transact with registered and licensed recruitment agencies to avoid falling prey to illegal recruiters.

Nearly 3,000 Chinese nationals ordered to leave PH for violating visa rules – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 2,736 Chinese nationals have been ordered to leave the country for violating the conditions of their visa, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Tuesday.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that from January to October, Chinese nationals who were granted visas upon arrival (VUA) but failed to leave on their departure date were given orders to leave.

Under the VUA system, visa grantees are not allowed to extend their stay beyond 30 days.

“More than half of those who were ordered to leave were blacklisted from the country,” Morente said in a statement.

“While some were unable to leave due to circumstance, following the cancellation of many flights due to the pandemic, those who stayed without sufficient basis were included in our blacklist,” he added.

The VUA program, a joint project of the tourism and justice departments, was launched in 2017 to attract Chinese tourists and tour groups to travel and stay in the Philippines without the need to apply for visas at Philippine consulates in their places of origin.

Travelers may apply for a VUA through tour operators accredited by the Department of Tourism.

“VUA arrivals account for only around 5% of total Chinese arrivals in the country,” Morente said.

“Most of those who arrived already secured their entry visas from our foreign posts abroad,” he added.

The implementation of the VUA was suspended in January due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

BOC destroys hazardous, unsafe goods worth P10-M

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has destroyed P10 million worth of hazardous, unsafe products that were illegally imported.

The BOC-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) reported another 24.6 tons of vape products, cosmetics, expired medicines/supplements, and other hazardous and unsafe goods were destroyed through the thermal decomposer (Pyrolysis) facility of the Integrated Waste Management Inc., in Cavite on October 17 and 19.

The said goods were imported without necessary Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration and permits.

Port of NAIA District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan, in a statement, said the proceedings aim to address perennial congestion problems of customs facilities on abandoned and illegally shipped items. AAC

Immigration employees showing COVID-19 symptoms to get free swab tests

Robie de Guzman   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Employees exhibiting novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be provided with free RT-PCR tests, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Monday.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the effort is to ensure the health and safety of the bureau’s personnel.

“Being frontliners, BI personnel are one of the most at risk as we are in close contact with numerous people every day in the performance of our duties,” he said.

BI Deputy Commissioner Aldwin Alegre, who chairs the BI COVID Task Force, said the swab testing will be conducted through the help of partner agencies.

“We have received allocation for swab kits from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Local Government Unit of Manila,” Alegre said.

“We are very thankful for their support, and this will go a long way in our fight against Covid,” he added.

Alegre said priority will be given to symptomatic employees, as well as those who came in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Testing for BI employees will be conducted at the Palacio de Maynila, Manila Health Office, and Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros.

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