Bureau of Immigration agents probed for human trafficking

February 07, 2020
Menardo Guevarra
Menardo Guevarra

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to dig deeper into the alleged complicity of Bureau of Immigration officials and employees in human trafficking and escort services.

The order stemmed from numerous reports that BI officials and employees have been illegally facilitating the departures of Filipino tourists intending to work in oil-rich Kuwait and other restricted countries.

“At that time, there were reports of new OFWs headed for Kuwait (banned) and other restricted places in the Middle East but would transit first in Malaysia or Indonesia, allegedly in connivance with some unscrupulous BI personnel,” Guevarra said in a statement.

Also, in Department Order 038, Guevarra tasked the NBI — an attached agency of the Department of Justice — to verify reports that improperly documented foreign nationals have been entering the country through Clark, Puerto Princesa and Kalibo international airports.

The NBI was given 30 days to submit a report on the progress of the investigation.

Recently the government ordered a temporary deployment ban of domestic helpers to Kuwait following the death of star-crossed overseas Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende.

The ban came after the NBI released its autopsy report showing that Villavende died of severe multiple traumatic injuries. She was even raped, the report concluded.

But just the other day, the Philippines partially lifted its deployment ban to Kuwait following the two nations’ agreement of a template contract for Filipino workers.

Household service workers are still covered by the ban while new and returning skilled Filipino workers are now allowed to fly to the Gulf state.