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BI chief warns OFWs vs. buying docs from social media

Norman Tansingco
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco warned aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) not to buy documents from social media. ( JERRY S. TAN)

Aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were cautioned not to buy documents off social media platforms and messaging apps as these are usually fake.

The warning came from Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco, who said that the bueau recently interceptied Filipina victims who presented fake Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) bought from WhatsApp and Facebook.

He said that BI officers at Clark International Airport (CIA) intercepted last May 24 a 49-year-old female victim who attempted to depart on board an Emirates airlines flight for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after presenting a counterfeit Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

BI immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) chief Bienvenido Castillo III reported the interception of alias ‘Valerie’, a former OFW who claims she was being redeployed to the United Arab Emirates.

Castillo said that dDuring secondary inspection, she confessed that the fake OEC was bought via WhatsApp, and she paid Php 7,200.00 which she sent via money transfer.

He also reported an interception last May 26 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 where the victim, identified only as ‘Lovely’, 25, attempted to depart to work in Kuwait via a Gulf Air flight.

‘Lovely’ initially presented her printed copy of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) to immigration authorities, together with her employment contract.

The primary inspection officer observed several discrepancies in her documents and referred her for secondary inspection. Verifications exposed that she submitted a counterfeit employment certificate. She allegedly obtained the employment certificate from a Facebook account called “OEC Appointment” for a fee of Php 500.00.

“We have a data-sharing agreement with the DMW (Department of Migrant Workers), allowing us to instantly check in the database if these certificates are legitimate. Aspiring OFWs should not buy their permits online as this is a scam. Always ensure that you go through legal means when departing as workers,” Tansingco warned, stressing that selling fake documents to aid the illegal departure of workers can be considered as human trafficking.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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