MANILA, Philippines – Four Filipinos who attempted to leave the country as tourists bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.
In a statement released on Sunday, BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said the four men were stopped by immigration authorities at the departure area of the NAIA Terminal 1 last Friday after attempting to board their flight to Abu Dhabi.
The bureau said the four pretended to be tourists bound for the UAE, and planned to proceed to Amman in Jordan before going to Libya where they were allegedly hired to work as aircon technicians and pipe fitters.
“They said they were recruited to work in Libya despite the deployment ban at the initiative of their friends and relatives who are already working there,” Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) Chief Timotea Barizo was quoted as saying in the statement.
Investigation conducted by immigration officials revealed that the return tickets presented by the four passengers are not valid, thus reinforcing suspicion that they are not tourists and whose real purpose in leaving is to work abroad.
The four also allegedly admitted during questioning that they would go to Libya where high paying jobs await them because of their technical expertise.
“They said they were recruited to work in Libya despite the deployment ban at the initiative of their friends and relatives who are already working there,” Barizo said.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the incident should prompt BI officers at the airport to be stricter in enforcing the ban on the deployment of overseas workers to Libya where a civil war has been raging among groups that want to wrest control of the government.
“We cannot allow our countrymen to be put in harm’s way by working in such dangerous places,” he stressed.
He added that there are many other countries which are peaceful and where Filipinos could make a living for the benefit of their families here.
The bureau also reminded Filipinos seeking job overseas not to skirt deployment policies.