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BI says increase in cases involving bogus travel docs ‘alarming’

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“ALARMING.”

This was how the recent increase in cases involving the use of counterfeit documents by individuals attempting to travel abroad was described by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) itself.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said that the BI has expressed its concern when in the past week, the bureau has encountered several cases at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), wherein individuals were accosted after presenting fraudulent documents.

Sandoval said that on May 21, a male passenger bound for Bangkok, Thailand, was intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 3. The recruitment victim initially claimed that he was a tourist, but a thorough examination of his passport revealed a valid Malta Visa with the word “CANCELL” written on it. Officers doubted the annotation on his visa, and interviews revealed that he had been instructed to pose as a tourist and he was indeed bound for Malta where he was recruited with the help of a relative.

On he following day, Sandoval said that two female victims were interviewed at the NAIA Terminal 1 while attempting to travel to Dubai. They presented counterfeit Kingdom of Saudi Arabia re-entry visas, despite their actual intention to seek employment in Dubai. One of the victims disclosed that she had met a recruiter on Facebook, who provided them with the forged documents just outside the airport before their departure.

And then on May 23, she said the BI intercepted two female passengers bound for Poland at the NAIA Terminal 1. These individuals were caught presenting counterfeit overseas employment certificates (OECs), which they had acquired through Facebook. It was revealed that they had paid 500 PhP online for the fake documents.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco has expressed both concern and frustration by the proliferation of said fake documents.

“These syndicates are issuing fake documents and sweet-talk our kababayans into agreeing to their illegal schemes. Never agree to these kinds of arrangements, and only apply through the Department of Migrant Workers,” the BI chief said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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