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BI Chief: Solving human trafficking problem requires all govt agencies’ help

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Eliminating human trafficking and illegal recruitment in the country requires the participation of all government agencies.

Thus said Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco, adding that while the BI is able to intercept victims at the ports, resolving trafficking should start at the root of the problem.

“Trafficking is not solely the burden of the BI, as we are only able to intercept victims when we encounter them in formal ports,” said Tansingco. “But trafficking happens everywhere. In the barangays, in cities, and now even online,” he said.

The BI, he said, is but one agency under the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking tasked to address the different aspects of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Meanwhile, Tansingco responded to the recent statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros, suggesting that the BI undergo an overhaul following reports of human trafficking.

“We respect the opinion of the good senator, but the BI has stepped up its efforts to combat this societal ill. In fact, we have recently implemented a major organizational overhaul following the deactivation of the BI’s port operations division (POD),” he said.

In February, the BI reported the deactivation of the POD, after the Department of Justice approved Tansingco’s recommendation to reorganize and streamline the operational structure of their airport services.

The move takes away the centralized authority over all airports, as well as empower and exact accountability on the BI airport terminal heads who are now directly responsible over the operation and management of their respective terminals.

Prior to the reorganization, the POD has a complex system, and Tansingco noted during his assessment that the complexity diluted accountability, with each head then reporting to multiple superiors.

“The leaner management system allows us to pinpoint problems, as well as properly commend those doing a good job,” he stated.

Tansingco said that systematic problems of the BI required systematic changes, and the new organizational setup allowed them to more closely monitor airport operations.

He expressed support to Representative Camille Villar’s recommendation to conduct a legislative inquiry on illegal overseas job offers that shuttle Filipinos to work for companies that operate online scams.

“I hope congress and senate look into this problem, particularly this recent trend of recruiting professionals who end up being subjected to corporal punishment by their recruiters. This is a personal mission for me, to put into light the evils of trafficking, and allow all government agencies to address this serious problem,” Tansingco added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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