Will new travel rules deter traffickers? Poe calls for delay, better airport security sans difficulty
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe said the new travel rules set to be implemented by the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (Iacat) should be reviewed and deferred to avert inconveniences and legal complications, among others, that passengers may encounter due to the adjustment.
“We welcome the move to address delays and inefficiencies at our airports and curb the scourge of human trafficking. But, doing so should not be at the expense of legitimate Filipino travelers,” Poe, head of the Senate’s committee on public services, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Iacat announced that it will implement its revised guidelines for the departure of Filipinos traveling abroad beginning September 3, mandating Filipinos to present more documents and comply with stricter travel regulations.
Poe said instead of requiring a long list of travel documents or dipping into “private matters” such as one’s financial capacity, the concerned agencies must “beef up the security at the country’s borders” to spot possible trafficking.
“[The] concerned agencies must train their sights on capacitating immigration personnel to spot trafficking, beefing up security at the country’s borders and, simultaneously, cleansing their ranks of corrupt and inefficient people,” Poe stressed.
“Sa bagong patakarang ito, baka mas paparusahan pa ang ating mga kababayang lehitimong byahero kung hindi sasawatahin ang korapsyon sa loob ng ahensya,” Poe added.
(With this new policy, our compatriots who are legitimate travelers may be punished even more if the corruption within the agency is not reprimanded.)
The lawmaker also pointed out that netizens and various sectors raised concerns about the possible “infringement” of one’s right to travel “are serious enough to merit a thorough review of the new protocols.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the Philippine government’s actions to strengthen its anti-trafficking in-persons program, especially for international-bound Filipino passengers.
Villanueva’s measure – Senate Resolution (SR) No. 762 – states that the government needs to evaluate the existing programs implemented to combat trafficking in persons.