OFFICIALS of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday announced 242 foreign nationals were barred from entering and working illegally in the country.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the exclusion followed the removal of all NAIA heads from their posts due to the alleged “pastillas” scheme.
“79 were excluded at NAIA 1, 33 were excluded at NAIA 2, and 130 were excluded at NAIA 3. Some were Cambodians, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Myanmars, Malaysians, and Chinese,” Morente said. The foreign nationals were intercepted from February 21 to February 28.
BI Intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr., said they also noticed an attempt of suspected illegal workers to use other ports of entry to the Philippines.
“We see this as a cause for concern,” he said. “Our frontliners will heighten our efforts in screening these aliens. We are in close coordination with our foreign counterparts in ensuring that no aliens with bad records enter the country. But if they are already in the country before we receive information about their crimes, we will immediately send them out,” he added.
Meanwhile, Morente vowed to expand the probe into the alleged pastillas scheme which whistleblower Allison Chiong said has continued to operate “until recently”.
“I have ordered all NAIA heads replaced, and reshuffled all frontline personnel to break any possible collusion among them. This revamp affected around 800 officers,” said Morente. “We have likewise placed the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit and the Border Control and Investigation Unit under the control and supervision of the Intelligence Division to serve as an external check and balance to monitor airport operations,” he added.
Morente warned that those who will be proven to be part of the alleged scheme will face both administrative and criminal cases.