A total of 28,467 Filipino passengers were not allowed to board their flights during the first ten months of the current year, after they were found to have violated certain requirements for overseas-bound passengers.
This was learned from Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina, who said the travelers were prevented from leaving the country as a result of the government’s intensified campaign against human trafficking.
Medina explained that requirements are provided under the Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers set by the Department of Justice and that the BI had been implementing them for the past few years as part of efforts to curb human trafficking and illegal migration in the country’s ports of exit.
“What we are trying to prevent here is allowing the departure of victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment. We are considered the last line of defense inside our country to protect our people,” he stressed.
Based on BI records, 23,239 out of the 28,467 persons whose departures were deferred from January to October were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while the rest were stopped in the airports of Mactan, Clark, Iloilo, Kalibo, and Davao.
Citing notable interceptions for the year, Medina said that from June to October, a total of 151 minor and under-aged females bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as wverseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were intercepted for misrepresenting their age.
Last August, four Filipinos were rescued from an alleged illegal recruiter in Clark after a German national attempted to facilitate their travel by reportedly instructing them to present themselves as volunteers, when their true intent was to work as caregivers in Germany.
In November, six female victims were prevented to leave after they were discovered to have presented fraudulently-acquired documents to immigration officers. They were reportedly recruited to work as nightclub entertainers in Korea.
Under the law, an OFW must secure an overseas employment certificate from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration before leaving the country.