BUREAU of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco urged airport authorities to investigate the rising cases of attempted trafficking involving “fake entry passes.”
According to Tansingco, he issued an order to BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong to coordinate with the Manila International Airport Authorities (MIAA) to request a thorough investigation of the issue.
The concern came after airport security and police intercepted three victims last earlier this month.
The victims reportedly used fake airport access passes, pretending to be employees of various airport concessionaires, to be able to enter the boarding gates.
Upon closer inspection by airport security, it was found that their passes were fake.
It was also found that their passports and boarding passes contained counterfeit immigration stamps.
Tansingco raised the urgency of the concern after hearing that another victim was intercepted by airport authorities.
Last November 16, another female victim was intercepted by aviation security personnel, according to a report to BI.
The victim, bound for Kuala Lumpur, presented a fake access pass and attempted to enter the employees’ entrance.
Her passport and boarding pass also contained fake stamps, which she said, were only given to her outside the airport premises.
Tansingco added that previous victims might have used the employees’ entrance to evade strict departure assessment, to depart the country to illegally work in countries such as Myanmar.
“We are investigating several victims of a trafficking syndicate that entices our kababayans to work abroad as call center agents, only to be transported to a third country to work as online scammers,” said Tansingco.
“We are trying to see if these two cases are linked. This is already a big security issue, and we see the need to refer the matter for a thorough investigation, together with local law enforcement agencies and the MIAA,” he added.
In 2014, a similar incident occurred when BI officers intercepted four trafficking victims who attempted to enter using the employees’ entrance.
“This keeps on happening, and something must be done to stop this,” said Tansingco. “We are implementing strict departure formalities and must ensure that all departing passengers are inspected and assessed by our officers.” By Jun I. Legaspi and Hector Lawas