The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it barred more than 38,000 travelers from leaving the country last year due to its unrelenting campaign against human trafficking in the different international ports. Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that the 38,522 persons whose departures were deferred last year is 16-percent more than the nearly 33,000 travelers who were stopped from leaving in 2018.

“The men and women manning our ports deserve to be commended for their vigilance. So long as there are people who are victimized by trafficking syndicates we will not relax our guard,” Morente said. “We are duty-bound to remove them from harm’s way.” The Bureau of Immigration chief specifically lauded personnel assigned to the bureau’s port operations division (POD) and travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) for their accomplishments. BI-POD chief Grifton Medina said most of the passengers were not allowed to board their flights for failure to comply with requirements for overseas bound passengers which are spelled out in guidelines promulgated by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). Medina said the said guidelines have been implemented in the past few years in order to combat human trafficking and illegal migration in the country’s ports of exit. According to BI-TCEU chief Ma. Timotea Barizo, about 85 percent or nearly 33,000 of the said passengers were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while the rest were stopped in the airports of Mactan, Clark, Iloilo, Kalibo, and Davao. Barizo said passengers were often intercepted for misrepresentation or for submitting fraudulent supporting and travel documents. She added that more than 400 passengers were turned over to the IACAT for investigation and filing of charges against their handlers and recruiters. It will be recalled that due to the government’s successful drive against trafficking, 

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) intercepted two Chinese and two Hongkong nationals for conspiring to transit to Canada with fraudulent travel documents. Bureau of Immigration port operations chief Grifton Medina said the four aliens were caught at the NAIA terminal 2 on Friday after they arrived aboard a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Hongkong.

Medina said the passengers’ ruse was foiled when airline personnel who doubted their documents referred them to the Bureau of Immigration’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) for questioning. According to Bureau of Immigration-TCEU chief Ma. Timotea Barizo, two of the passengers, Hongkong nationals identified as Lam Mik Ho and Mak Hin Chun Adrian were transiting in Manila, and were supposed to board their connecting flight to Toronto, Canada. The duo checked in with the airline's transfer desk upon landing, but airline representatives were surprised when another two, who were later identified as Chinese nationals Chen Kaihui and He Chaorong, presented Hong Kong passports bearing Lam and Mak's names. "There were two sets of Lam and Maks who wanted to transit to Canada, both sets carrying the same documents," Barizo shared. Upon forensic document examination, it was discovered that Chen and He presented fake Hong Kong passports, and merely assumed the identities. Chinese passports were later discovered in their possession. The four were stopped by immigration from boarding their flight to Canada. Canadian authorities likewise cancelled the electronic travel authorization (ETA) issued to Lam and Mak due to misrepresentation. Upon learning of the incident, Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente ordered the inclusion of the four aliens in the immigration blacklist. “These undesirable aliens should be banned from entering our country. They have no right to use the Philippines as a jump off point to enter other countries illegally. Let this serve as a warning. You will be caught,” Morente said. The four were immediately sent back to Hong Kong and were barred from re-entering the Philippines.

 

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