INSPITE of the fact that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) continues to register COVID-19 infections among its personnel, work among its different units goes on unhampered.
As such, we are assured of round-the-clock protection from foreigners who may be in the country or hiding here, just waiting for the right moment to strike and victimize Filipinos.
Currently, there are at least 46 BI employees who were tested positive for the coronavirus and of the number, nine have already recovered while the 37 are still housed in government-accredited quarantine facilities except for one who is recovering in a hospital.
Note that half of those who contracted the virus are currently assigned at the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila while the rest are stationed in other places such as the international airports in Pasay and Cebu as well as the bureau's satellite and extension offices in Metro Manila and elsewhere in the country.
This is no longer a surprise since the BI is one of the few government agencies whose personnel render frontline services, not only in its offices, but also in the ports of entry as well, so that employees, inevitably, do come in contact or are exposed to persons who are carriers of this virus.
Not even the pandemic made BI authorities slow down or rest as in fact, three South Korean nationals wanted by authorities in Seoul for involvement in telecommunications fraud and an American fugitive wanted by authorities in California for assault and possession of deadly weapon were nabbed by BI Fugitive Search Unit (FSU) chief Bobby Raquepo and his men one after another.
The three---Lim Yeongjun, 36; Kwom Hyeoksoo, 49 and Sim Dong Woo, 49---were nabbed August 4 by joint operatives from the FSU and the Philippine National Police (PNP) inside the office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at the Southern Police District (SPD) Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City where they were taken earlier into custody by policemen.
FSU chief Raquepo said the Koreans were not only overstaying aliens but are also subjects of red notices from the Interpol, even as their passports were already revoked by their government. They cannot be deported yet as they are facing criminal charges for violating the 1988 Access Device Regulation Act and 2011 Anti-Cybercrime Law and can only be deported once the criminal charges against them are resolved and upon completion of service of sentence.
According to Raquepo, BI Interpol Unit data revealed that the fugitives operated clandestine call centers in Manila, which they used to trick and defraud their victims. He said they deceive the victims by pretending that they are agents of lending institutions and persuade the victims to repay their loans in advance in order to avail of lower interest.
Korean authorities charged that the fugitives amassed from their phishing activities more than 80 million won or roughly more than US$67,000, which the unsuspecting victims deposited into the suspects' bank accounts.
American fugitive Peter Alex Drier, 45 on the other hand, was nabbed the following day or August 5 also by the group of Raquepo.
The US embassy disclosed that Drier has an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the police department in San Diego, California for failure to appear and answer an underlying charge of assault with a deadly weapon, even as Drier was twice arrested last year on charges of Crimes Against Person and Simple Assault by the San Diego police.
Alongside this, the BI deported 75 Chinese nationals who were previously arrested by a team headed by BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr., for involvement in illegal online gaming operations in the country.
They left via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), aboard a chartered plane that flew to Zhengzhou, China.
The said 75 deportees were among the more than 300 Chinese nationals arrested last December 2019 by Manahan’s men and the Quezon City Police District, for violating the conditions of their stay as tourists when they worked without proper work permits and engaged in unauthorized online gaming operations in the country.
Manahan said that based on information from Chinese authorities, the deportees were engaged in cyber crime activities and investment scams that victimized many of their compatriots in China. They also happened to be undocumented aliens as their passports had already been cancelled by the Chinese government.
Hats off to these BI officials for ceaselessly protecting our own countrymen from the dangers these aliens pose by their continued stay here.
Jokjok (from Ernesto Chua of Antipolo, Rizal)--- Teacher: Juan, i-translate mo nga sa english eto/Juan: What Ma’am?/ Teacher: Ang uwak ay hinang-hinang naglakad/ Juan: ‘Yun lang? Sus. The wak wak weak weak wok wok.
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