BI to cross-match travel papers of Pinoys returning home from hajj
Filipinos who will arrive home from the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia should expect slight delay in the processes as the Bureau of Immigration (BI) is conducting cross-matching of travel documents.
The cross-matching is in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte's order to arrest those behind the illegal issuance of Philippine passports to Indonesian nationals that was discovered last month.
"This is related to discovery of our bureau personnel of the use of syndicate of hajj passport to get money from Indonesians and allow them to go to Mecca," said Deputy Commissioner Al Argosino of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday.
On August 19, the BI stopped 177 Indonesians from leaving the country for Saudi Arabia for illegal possession of Philippine passports. The foreigners were reportedly joining the hajj pilgrimage held on September 9 to 14.
"This is illegal in our system. We hope that those who facilitated this be brought to trial," Argosino said.
Argosino asked those who will undergo the procedure at the Immigration counter to bear with them as they would like to ensure that those who will enter the country have genuine travel documents.
"Right now the BI is on stand by in the airport to do some cross matching of those who would be arriving from Jeddah," he said. "We ask for your patience. We cannot determine who are Philippine passport holders and who are Indonesians unless we could determine who are the regular passport holders."
According to Argosino, they have been instructed to confiscate the passport of regular Filipino passport holders to determine that they are not part of Philippine passports issued to non-Filipino nationals.
Argosino noted that they have designated special lane for these passengers so as not to cause any inconvenience to other foreign and local travelers at the airport. —KBK, GMA News