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2023 revised IACAT departure guidelines to put more teeth on gov’t anti-human trafficking effort – DOJ


The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) said that its 2023 revised departure guidelines for international-bound Filipino passengers primarily aim to strengthen government measure to fight human trafficking in the country, and not intended to intrude on people’s privacy and hinder travel.

In a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday, Department of Justice Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano, representing the IACAT, asked outbound Filipino travelers, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), to follow the revised IACAT guidelines by preparing the required documents before proceeding to immigration counters at the airports to ensure hassle-free processing of their travel documents.

“Well, this is really not a hindrance to the right to travel. Ito po ay isang polisiya ng ating gobyerno na i-eradicate or tigilan na talaga itong malawak at malalim na problema ng human trafficking,” Clavano told the forum.

“In fact, doon po sa ating statistics, almost 99 percent of the time ay wala naman po talagang problema. This is only for those vulnerable sectors at iyon po iyong ginawa ng 2023 guidelines – tiningnan ho natin lahat ng categories ng travelers, iyong mga na-identify ho natin na vulnerable sa human trafficking iyon po iyong medyo mas maraming additional documents kung sakaling magduda iyong Immigration officer,” he added.

According to Clavano, the 2023 revised IACAT guidelines are similar to the 2015 policy, clarifying that IACAT is not imposing additional documentary requirements to travelers.

Immigration personnel are just looking for red flags or potential trafficking victims, he said.

“Hindi po totoo na additional requirement dahil hindi naman ho iyan required. ‘Pag mayroon lang red flags, ‘pag mayroon lang nakitang inconsistency sa kuwento or hindi na-meet iyong standard po ng ating mga Immigration Officers, doon lang sila magtatanong,” Clavano said.

The official said that the Council did not change the process in the 2023 revised guidelines particularly with the presentation of required basic travel documents.

Among the basic immigration requirements include valid passport, visa, roundtrip ticket, and boarding pass.

“Ang ginawa lang ho ay in-identify lang ho natin ang iba’t ibang mga categories ng mga travelers, dinagdagan po natin iyon,” he explained.

He said he hopes the new guidance could serve as a deterrent to syndicates and fraudsters victimizing Filipinos particularly after the US State Department gave the Philippines Tier 1 ranking in the fight against human trafficking, which means government measures are effective and working.

Clavano also reported that from January 1 to May 15 this year, there were 39,061 referrals for secondary inspection.

Of the 39,061 referred for secondary inspection, 25,297 were allowed for departure while 13,764 were deferred. | PND

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