BI’s anti-trafficking drive: Over 7,000 barred from leaving in Q1
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has barred more than 7,000 Filipinos from leaving the country in the first quarter of the year amid its intensified campaign against human trafficking.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said that 7,311 Filipino travelers were prevented from leaving the country for failure to comply with requirements for overseas-bound travelers.
“We have been very careful in assessing these travelers as we wanted to ensure that they will not be victimized by human traffickers and illegal recruiters,” Medina said in a statement.
“Passengers whose departures were previously deferred will be allowed after complying with requirements based on the DOJ guidelines,” Medina said, clarifying that being disallowed to leave does not mean perpetual denial to leave the country.
“These requirements were set by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to ensure that our kababayans are protected from being victimized abroad,” Medina added.
BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Erwin Ortañez said that 84 percent or more than 6,000 travelers were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
The other travelers were barred at the Mactan, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo and Davao airports.
Most of the passengers have “doubtful purpose of travel, while others were guilty of misrepresentation and submitting spurious supporting documents,” Ortañez said.
Among those barred from leaving were 13 underage overseas Filipino workers who falsified their birth dates on passports, as well as scores Filipinos who presented fake overseas employment certificates.
“We will continue our drive to protect our countrymen from these syndicates who keep on sending workers abroad illegally, making them prone to abuse and exploitation in foreign lands,” BI chief Jaime Morente said.
“The fight against human trafficking and illegal recruitment is a priority for this administration,” he added.
“Modern-day slavery has no place in this world, and we will make sure that Filipinos are protected from this threat.” /gsg
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