Intensify laws vs illegal recruiters, DOJ told amid more requirements for Filipino travelers
MANILA, Philippines — Instead of tightening restrictions against Filipino travelers, the Department of Justice (DOJ) should continue to strengthen the laws against illegal traffickers.
This was the perspective of a research firm, which also lauded DOJ’s move to halt temporarily the implementation of stricter requirements after the policy faced slew of criticisms.
“We commend the justice department for suspending the implementation of what it called to be ‘stricter’ policies to eradicate human trafficking among our countrymen,” Atty. Nick Conti, Chief of Public Affairs of private research and intelligence agency Capstone-Intel, said in a statement on Monday.
To recall, the DOJ-headed Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) revised its guidelines for the departure of Filipinos traveling abroad, requiring more documents and travel regulations.
However, the IACAT suspended the implementation of the revised departure guidelines amid concerns raised by lawmakers and other groups.
“While we believe the intention of the IACAT is good, it is imperative that they listen rigorously to the other implications of the policies for the Filipino public,” Conti said.
Conti also pointed out that Filipinos should not be hindered from practicing their “right to travel” as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, adding that the government should craft laws targeting illegal recruiters and human traffickers.
“What our government needs are laws that stabilize the arrest of recruiters who exploit our people and make sure that the workers here have adequate protection so that the majority of the Filipinos won’t be affected by this and allow them to enjoy their right to leave the country without experiencing difficulty in presenting documents that are not that important for the purpose of their travel,” Conti further said.