PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar ordered the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) on Saturday, October 23, to look into the reported selling of passport appointments online, emphasizing that such service is free of charge.
Eleazar said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) tapped them along with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the scheme and unmask those behind Facebook pages and groups that offer a swift passport appointment process to applicants in exchange for money.
“Inatasan ko na ang ating Anti-Cybercrime Group na imbestigahan at magsagawa ng mga kaukulang operasyon upang mahuli at mapanagot ang mga taong nasa likod nito. Hindi natin papayagan na pagkakitaan pa ang ating mga kababayan lalo na ang mga OFWs dahil sa hirap ng buhay ngayon na dulot ng hinaharap nating pandemya,” Eleazar said.
(We tasked the Anti-Cybercrime Group to investigate and conduct an operation to arrest the persons behind the scam. We will not allow this to victimize especially our OFWs.)
He said the DFA wanted the social media pages taken down and charges be filed against the individuals or groups behind the scam.
Eleazar urged the public not to patronize the illegal scheme and to immediately report it to authorities.
He said those who have been victimized by this scam can file their complaints through the various platforms of the PNP’s E-Sumbong.
“Nililinaw po natin sa ating mga kababayan na libre ang passport appointment at hinihikayat natin sila na huwag tangkilikin ang ganitong uri ng modus. Magtulungan tayo upang tigilan ang ganitong uri ng pagsasamantala sa ating mga kababayan,” said Eleazar.
(We would like to make it clear that booking a passport appointment is free, and we encourage the public not to patronize this kind of modus. Let us help each other to stop this scam.) (SunStar Philippines)