MANILA—Seven undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), including two of bound for Hong Kong, were barred from boarding their flights by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Bureau of Immigration Port Operations acting chief Grifton Medina said the seven travellers were prevented from departing after being intercepted in separate occasions last week at NAIA Terminals 2 and 3.
“They were not allowed to leave after they admitted under questioning that they are not tourists but are actually going abroad to work,” Medina said.
Medina warned that those who intend to work overseas should secure first the travel requirements for OFWs and not pretend as tourists.
“There is very little chance you will not be caught by our vigilant immigration officers at the airport,” Medina said.
Reports submitted by the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ma. Timotea C. Barizo to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that two of the passengers intercepted at NAIA 2 on Sept. 14 were about to depart for Hong Kong.
They were barred from boarding their flight after immigration officers noticed that they were traveling with a woman who is in the BI “alert list” of suspected human traffickers facilitating the deployment of undocumented workers abroad.
On Sept. 15, four Malta-bound “tourists” were also apprehended at the NAIA 2 departure area after they presented questionable travel documents.
They initially claimed they were attending a symposium in Malta but they later admitted during the interview that they were hired to work as domestic workers.
They further alleged that each of them gave P500,000 to their “handler” for the processing of their travel documents and visas.
Barizo also reported a Filipina bound for Istanbul, Turkey was stopped on Sept. 17 because she was caught with a fraudulent overseas employment certificate.
All seven passengers were turned over to the NAIA Task Force Against Trafficking in Person (NAIATFAT) for further investigation.