THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) has yet to establish the possible involvement of any of its personnel in the alleged trafficking of Filipino workers to Myanmar, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said on Thursday, December 1, 2022.
“So far po, looking at the investigation po, sa Senado po and dito sa mga na-intercept natin, wala po tayong nakikitang link sa mga empleyado po natin,” she said in a radio interview.
(So far, looking at the investigation, in the Senate and here among those we have intercepted, we do not see any link to our employees.)
“Especially po ‘yung mga passports po ng mga biktima, nakita po natin na may mga fake na stamps, and they were pointing po to several individuals that are not employees of the bureau. May mga picture po na lumabas at mga pangalan, at hindi po ito mga empleyado ng ahensya,” she added.
(Especially the passports of the victims, we saw that there were fake stamps, and they were pointing to several individuals that are not employees of the bureau. There are pictures that came out and names, and these are not agency employees.)
Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier urged concerned government agencies to conduct investigation on the claims of several OFWs that they were offered to work in a telemarketing firm in Thailand but ended up being cypto-currency scammers of a Chinese syndicate in Myanmar.
Some of them went home with bruises and other physical injuries, a sign showing they were being maltreated and abused abroad.
Sandoval said they have intercepted, over the past month, four passengers going to different Asian countries but they suspect, following Hontiveros’ revelation, that they were also victims of human trafficking going to Myanmar.
She said on October, the BI leadership has ordered the tightening of immigration screening especially on individuals heading to Asian countries amid concerns on human trafficking.
Sandoval said they are also in close coordination with different concerned airport authorities to address the matter.
She said they suspect there was a “big time” syndicate behind the scheme, noting they were aware of the exit and entry points of the airport as well as the processes.
One of the OFWs trafficked to Myanmar said he was able to bypass immigration procedures after his recruiter made him use a fake airport concessionaire ID which brought him directly to the airport boarding area. (SunStar Philippines)
PNA File photo
December 01, 2022
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