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BI chief reports – Our efforts vs trafficking are working

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco expressed gladness that the efforts against trafficking being exerted by the BI and other government agencies under the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) are not in vain.

He cited that in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, and Gender relations chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros held last April 19, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported less Filipinos seeking repatriation.

“Our embassies are commenting, there’s a lower rate now, which means it’s working, it’s working…There are less Filipinos going abroad and being fooled, so I hope this means that all those online offers are not here anymore, or hindi na pinapaniwalaan” said DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo de Vega during the hearing.

Tansingco, for his part, said: “Our officers are sometimes disheartened to hear negative comments about what we do. but hearing this means what we are doing has meaning. Less people get hurt, less Filipinos are abused abroad.”

The BI Chief also addressed reports of illegal scamming hubs in residential areas in Metro Manila, adding that while the issue is primarily a local law enforcement agency matter as it is a crime being committed in Philippine soil, there is an immigration aspect to it given the visa status and activities of the foreign nationals.

“We will be coordinating with the office of the good Senator Hontiveros in locating these scam hubs. As we speak, our people are already on the ground conducting an investigation on these reports,” he added.

Tansingco commended the efforts of government agencies in curbing trafficking, and called for a more harmonized and unified approach in handling trafficking cases, saying: “In the next IACAT meeting, we will be suggesting that each agency have a specific, active role in the handling of trafficking cases, because there needs to be interoperability in our actions, for a more harmonized approach in fighting trafficking and illegal recruitment.”

Itchie G. Cabayan
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