Frequent "off-loading" of legit OFWs blamed on Bureau of Immigration’s overzealous anti-trafficking drive
Interaksyon.com reports that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has been "unreasonably strict in its anti-trafficking campaign to the point that it has frequently off-loaded even legitimate overseas Filipino workers." The issue was raised by recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani.
Interaksyon.com, citing recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani, reports that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has been "unreasonably strict in its anti-trafficking campaign to the point that it has frequently off-loaded even legitimate overseas Filipino workers."
According to Geslani, BI has been off-loading OFWs who are documented and processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). He cited an incident involving a domestic worker returning to the employ of the Sultan of Johore, a highly industrialized state in Malaysia just across Singapore. The OFW, who had a POEA-issued overseas employment certificate, was not allowed to board her flight to Singapore.
The report explained that the "very embarrassing incident" was personally reported by Philippine labor officer Rey Sto. Domingo, who was berated by the Sultan's wife for this unjustified off-loading of her maid.
Geslani revealed that other female OFWs bound for the Middle East have also been off-loaded after being "profiled to be victims of human trafficking by BI agents." The Interaksyon.com report also said that "OFWs going to Iraq and Afghanistan have also been "harassed" by immigration agents, leading some of them to believe that extortion is the object of their off-loading."
Even legitimate tourists have not been spared. Geslani said "the rampant off-loading of legitimate tourists has reached alarming proportions to the point that Vice President Jejomar Binay has asked immigration chief Gen. Ricardo David to explain the BI off-loading procedures, complaining in behalf of off-loaded passengers who had to pay P1,620 travel tax and P750 airport fee."
Former BI chief Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has called for another hearing on the issue to investigate these off-loading incidents.
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