The Bureau of Immigration (BI) appealed for the public’s understanding as it vowed to continue its “offloading" policy in combating illegal recruitment and human trafficking.
The policy bars passengers from flying to certain countries on suspicion that they could be victims of human trafficking.
According to a news release on the BI website, Associate Commissioner Abdullah Mangotara urged travelers to give specific information when filing complaints “for alleged extortion or arrogance" against immigration officers.
“While the BI recognizes [every Filipino’s] right to travel, human trafficking poses a threat to the people’s right to life and liberty. [These] can be [confusing, but] the preservation of life and liberty is a higher calling, a higher duty that we must discharge—and discharge without hesitation," Mangotara said.
Human trafficking and illegal recruitment is expected to continue, he added, because many Filipinos still see overseas work as the solution to poverty.
“Their [Filipinos] vulnerability and ambitions of going abroad will continue to open up chances for organized crime syndicates to operate," Mangotara said.
Last Nov. 9, Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said an inter-agency body is reviewing the guidelines that immigration officers follow in processing passengers going abroad, after receiving complaints from Filipino travelers.
Aside from the BI, David said the review body includes representatives from the:
Department of Justice (DOJ),
Department of Tourism (DOT),
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
“The group was tasked to undertake a thorough study and review of our existing practices at the airports so that these complaints from the traveling public can be addressed," he said.
He also appealed to the recruitment sector to understand the plight of immigration officers “who are in the forefront of the campaign against human trafficking." - Rose-An Jessica Dioquino, VVP, GMA News