Seven undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who attempted to depart in the guise of being tourists, were recently barred from leaving the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Monday.
According to BI Port Operations acting chief Grifton Medina, the passengers were intercepted on separate occasions last week at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 2 and 3.
Reports submitted by the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), headed by Ma. Timotea C. Barizo, to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that the latest to be barred was a Filipina bound for Istanbul, Turkey.
She was caught in possession of a fraudulent overseas employment certificate last September 17.
The BI official added that four Malta-bound “tourist workers” were apprehended at the NAIA 2 departure area after they presented questionable documents regarding the purpose of their travel on September 15.
All of them initially claimed they were attending a symposium but later admitted during an interview that they were hired to work as maids in Malta.
They alleged that each of them gave PHP500,000 to their handler in return for processing their travel documents and visas.
On September 14, two other passengers were intercepted at NAIA 2 as they were about to depart for Hong Kong.
They were barred to depart after they were seen traveling with a woman, who is on the bureau’s alert list of suspected human traffickers facilitating the deployment of undocumented workers abroad.
All seven passengers were turned over to the NAIA Task Force Against Trafficking in Person (NAIATFAT) for further investigation.
Meanwhile, the woman trafficker, whose name was withheld for security reasons, is now under the custody of the NAIA Task Force Against Trafficking in Person (NAIATFAT) for further investigation.
With this, Medina reiterated his warning to those who intend to work overseas not to evade the travel requirements for OFWs by pretending to be tourists.
“There is very little chance you will not be caught by our vigilant immigration officers at the airports,” he said in a statement. (PNA)