2023 May 27
NOT ABSOLUTE. A woman claims her renewed passport at a mall in Quezon City on Friday (May 26, 2023). The law recognizes the constitutional right to travel unless it will impair national security, public safety or public health.
MANILA – Tampering with documents when attempting to go out of the country will do a traveler no good, warned the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Saturday.
Cases involving the use of counterfeit documents in recent weeks have alarmed and frustrated the BI, according to Commissioner Norman Tansingco.
“These syndicates are issuing fake documents and sweet-talk our kababayan (countrymen) into agreeing to their illegal schemes,” he said in a statement. “Never agree to these kinds of arrangements.”
At the same time, he reminded those seeking jobs abroad to transact only with legitimate agencies, such as the Department of Migrant Workers.
On May 21, a male passenger bound for Bangkok, Thailand was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City.
He initially said it would be a leisure trip but a thorough examination of his passport showed a valid Malta visa but stamped “canceled.”
Further interview disclosed that he was instructed to pose as a tourist and was indeed bound for the island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea, recruited by a relative.
The following day, two women with counterfeit Kingdom of Saudi Arabia re-entry visas were stopped at Terminal 1.
One of the two disclosed that she met her recruiter through Facebook and they were provided with the forged documents just outside the airport before their departure.
Two more female passengers bound for Poland were likewise apprehended at Terminal 1 on May 23 with fake overseas employment certificates, likewise acquired through a Facebook recruiter.
They said they paid PHP500 each for the fake documents.
The BI plans to partner with travel agencies to strengthen efforts against human trafficking.
“Combating human trafficking necessitates a collective effort from all sectors. It is a call for unity and collaboration among public and private stakeholders to eradicate human trafficking,” Tansingco said in a previous statement.