Immigration bureau warns against job offers on social media

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019   •   192

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has warned the public against job offers circulating on social media, especially on Facebook.

“Do not deal with unlicensed recruiters as they cannot guarantee your safety, good working conditions, and salaries according to industry standards,” according to Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente.

The BI said a group of women was apprehended at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last Sunday (November 17).

Morente said they posed as tourists going to Singapore and Malaysia but were really victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

The immigration bureau also reported they were recruited by a syndicate using Facebook and other social media networking sites to work as household service workers in Dubai.

The immigration chief said not to apply in unlicensed recruiters.

“Chances are you will be intercepted at our ports if you avail the services of fraudsters and illegal recruiters,” Morente said. —AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Villanueva urges DOLE, BI to join crackdown on tax-evading POGOs

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2019

Senator Joel Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva has urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to join the government’s crackdown on tax-evading Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO).

Villanueva made the statement after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Wednesday shuttered a POGO service provider for failure to register its branch offices in Parañaque City to pay taxes.

“We could only hope that the BIR’s steely determination rubs off on the inter-agency task force assembled to stem the tide that is the influx of illegal workers. Since its organization in May, it has yet to mount a single round of joint inspections similar to the BIR’s effort,” the senator said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Agencies concerned like DOLE and the BI in particular should be at the forefront of inspections such as this. They should be coordinating with the member-agencies of the inter-agency task force consistent with their mandate,” he added.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, believes BIR’s efforts to shut down tax-evading offshore gaming firms could be maximized if DOLE and BI will join its operations.

“Had representatives from the DOLE and BI joined the BIR’s operation this morning, a proper labor inspection in the office premises could have been done, while immigration officials could have inspected the work visas of the employees. We could have maximized the opportunity that BIR already had,” he said.

The lawmaker also called on DOLE to remain committed to its mandate to “only accept foreign workers in the country if there are no other capable, able, and willing Filipino to do the job.”

He also expects the BI to fulfill its commitment to issue guidelines clarifying the working definitions of 14 occupations for which it could issue special work permits.

Meanwhile, Villanueva lauded the efforts of the BIR and the Department of Finance (DOF) to “keep business in check” especially in settling their obligations to the government.

“The Philippines is always open for business as long as companies conform with prevailing requirements and pay its correct taxes due to the government,” he said.

The DOF earlier ordered to close down all POGOs and their service providers that fail or refuse to settle their tax liabilities.

BI: Wanted Canadian-American rape suspect arrested at NAIA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2019

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reported the arrest of a Canadian-American man accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in Subic more than a year ago.

Authorities identified the man as 54-year-old Fouad Bounab. He arrived Saturday (November 9) night at NAIA 3 terminal aboard an Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Atty. Rommel Tacorda, who heads the BI’s border control and intelligence unit (BCIU), disclosed that Bounab is on the wanted list of the Interpol which earlier issued a red notice against him.

“He fled to Malaysia to evade prosecution for his crime. Fortunately, our counterparts in Malaysia were able to trace his whereabouts and he was arrested and brought back to Manila,” he said.

According to the BI, Bounab allegedly lured his minor victim to have sex with him through social media for the purpose of prostitution and sexual exploitation.

A warrant of arrest was issued by Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Gemma Logronio on July 8 this year against Bounab.—AAC

Immigration on heightened alert vs human trafficking during ‘Undas’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed on heightened alert its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports in the country ahead of the anticipated increase in the volume of passengers arriving and departing during the Undas break.

In a statement, the bureau said it expects roughly the same percentage of increase in passenger arrivals and departures as the past two years.

“There was a 6.3% increase of arrivals from 2017 to 2018 during Undas, and we also saw a 10% increase of departures in the same period,” BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said.

He, however, assured the public that “lines will remain manageable” despite the surge, attributing it to additional manpower and use of electronic gates in airports.

Apart from the influx of passengers during Undas, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said their personnel was also directed to be alert to prevent human trafficking syndicates from taking advantage of the holiday.

Citing intelligence reports, Morente said, international human smuggling syndicates might use the occasion to again use Manila “as a transit point for illegal aliens who want to enter countries where they want to settle and work illicitly.”

Morente directed Medina to make sure that immigration officers will be extra careful and meticulous in the screening of arriving and departing passengers and to not be distracted by the volume of travelers during holidays.

“They were instructed to always practice what they have been trained to do and that is to implement to the letter our rules and regulations on the conduct of immigration formalities for travelers who enter and exit our ports,” Medina said.

He added that strict departure formalities will also be conducted to prevent trafficking victims from leaving while arriving foreigners will be thoroughly screened to make sure their visas and travel documents are valid.

BI’s travel control and enforcement unit is responsible for explaining that detecting human trafficking victims and illegal aliens. It is assisted by the border control and intelligence unit which performs intelligence and counter-intelligence duties, including intercepting and apprehending fugitives and other persons with a derogatory record who might try to enter or flee the country.

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