CLARK FREEPORT – Immigration officer has directed the agency’s personnel here to be vigilant against terrorists and criminal elements entering the country through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Marcelino Libanan issued the directive during Thursday’s culmination of the training of new immigration officers at the Philippine Immigration Academy inside the Freeport.

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He said the bureau needs to strictly implement the immigration laws because Philippines ranks 10th as terrorists’ target.

Aside from this, he said, international airports all over the world including DMIA, with budget aircrafts are favorite entry and exit points of terrorists, illegal recruiters and drug traffickers.

In DMIA alone, immigration officers were able to offload more than 2,000 suspicious passengers, both Filipinos and foreigners, in 2008 and more than 3,000 travelers in 2009, Libanan said.

He said the offloaded passengers lack necessary travel documents or suspected of working as migrant workers but pretending as tourists.

Libanan said offloaded Filipinos who attempted to leave the country as migrant workers are advised to secure permits and other documents from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Everybody, including government officials and political candidates, are now advocating against human trafficking and illegal recruitment, Libanan said.

The enforcement of immigration law is a complex job and immigration officers should do their job religiously to protect the country against criminal elements and combat human trafficking, he added.

He also directed the new immigration officers to learn how to identify and arrest persons violating the law considering that BI is a member of the law enforcement community like the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation and others.

“That is why we are training our personnel in the academy so that we will be more effective in combating human trafficking and prevent the entry of terrorists in our country,” Libanan said.

The bureau shares with the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, AFP and PNP vital information like identity of suspected members of international terrorist groups, illegal recruiters and others.

“Binabato namin sa task force at iba pang law enforcement agencies ang lahat ng mga inpormasyong na aming nakukuha para mahuli and mga suspects,” Libanan said.

“Philippines is 6th migrant worker country so we have to be cautious, Libanan told the new immigration officers who will be dispatched in different airports in the country.

Sam Vallada, director of the Philippine Immigration Academy and chief of the BI Anti-Fraud Division, said that illegal recruitment and human trafficking is a serious problem.

Vallada said that the right of an individual to travel is always uphold. However, he said, that the bureau needs to implement the immigration law.

Migrant workers, he said, should present complete documents including a clearance from the POEA in order to pass immigration lanes.

Many migrant workers who did not secure travel documents from the POEA and other concerned agencies end up as victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking, he said.