BI apologizes to Filipina in viral immigration rant for ‘inconvenience’
MANILA, Philippines —A Filipina traveler whose video outburst over her lengthy airport interrogation before departing the Philippines went viral has received an apology from the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
It, however, sought travelers’ “consideration and understanding” for the strict process given the alarming cases of human trafficking or illegal recruitment that it has observed recently.
BI issued the statement after lifestyle blogger Cham Tanteras’ TikTok video about her “irrelevant” exit interview with an immigration officer went viral. She said it stopped her from flying to Israel.
BI said it immediately investigated and instructed the immigration officer to submit a full report on the incident.
Tanteras was then allowed to travel after she filled out the Border Control Questionnaire and underwent secondary inspection, it added.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused the Filipina passenger and other Filipino passengers,” BI said.
The bureau then pointed out that a total of 32,404 Filipinos were delayed from departure in 2022 – 472 were found to have been victims of human trafficking or illegal recruitment, 873 misrepresented themselves or presented fraudulent documents, and some 10 others for attempting to leave the Philippines to work abroad despite being underaged.
“The issue of human trafficking and illegal recruitment is real and is happening every day,” it said.
BI also noted several young professionals “with good travel records, gainfully employed and are graduates of good schools” who have fallen victim to cryptocurrency scam syndicates that promise a $1,000 monthly salary and bring them to Myanmar and other Asian countries.
The victims were instead “forced to scam Westerners” and, if unable to achieve a certain quota, were slapped with corporal punishment.
With this in mind, BI called for “consideration and understanding as the agency is constrained to implement strict measures to assess departing passengers.”
But it had also assured the public that its personnel has been reminded to do the inspections “professionally, and [efficiently] to prevent future similar incidents from occurring.”
BI likewise urged travelers to relay their concerns about its personnel to the Immigration Helpline PH page on Facebook for immediate resolution.
BI relieves 2 personnel over alleged ties to human trafficking ring
BI: Strict inspection for travelers from countries with human trafficking cases
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.