Gov’t asks public to bear with stricter travel rules

March 30, 2023 Hector Lawas 79 views

THE government has appealed to the public for understanding regarding the stricter implementation of “departure formalities” for international-bound passengers, who are forced to miss or rebook their flights.

In a statement, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), which includes the Bureau of Immigration (BI), emphasized that these formalities are part of the government’s measures to combat human trafficking, which is considered modern-day slavery and the world’s third-largest and most profitable crime industry after illegal drugs and arms trafficking.

“We sincerely request the public’s continued patience, understanding, cooperation, and support. As we empathize with the disruptive effect these may have caused to the public, let us not overlook the fact that there is a bigger problem we need to address as a country: human trafficking,” the DOJ said.

The DOJ clarified that departure formalities are just one of IACAT’s measures to combat human trafficking and have become an “integral part of a holistic and multi-dimensional campaign that involves prevention, protection, prosecution, partnership, and policy.”

The DOJ also assured the public that the BI has taken the necessary steps to investigate any excessive or inappropriate behavior of some immigration officers in the course of implementing the departure formalities.

“Rest assured, the abusive behavior which goes beyond the mandate of the officers will not be tolerated and will be appropriately and strictly dealt with,” the DOJ said.

According to the DOJ, the implementation of departure formalities by the BI is pursuant to their legal mandate as an integral member of the IACAT.