16 ‘tourist’ workers bound for HK, Taipei intercepted at NAIA

MANILA — A total of 16 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who attempted to leave the country by disguising themselves as tourists were recently intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Monday.

BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were stopped in two batches at the NAIA 3 as they were about to board their Cebu Pacific Airways flights to Taiwan and Hong Kong last August 7.

He added that one batch consisted of 12 persons who were bound for Taipei while the other four individuals were bound for Hong Kong.

“They all confessed during questioning that they are not tourists and that they were hired to work abroad by illegal recruiters,” Medina said in a statement.

According to BI-NAIA 3 travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) chief Anthony Lopez, the Taipei-bound, majority are women admitted that their final destination is the United Arab Emirates.

They were recruited to work by a travel agency based in Manila, which was not identified.

On the other hand, the four women confessed that they were going to Hong Kong to process their visas to China where they were allegedly promised jobs by a Filipino-Chinese businessman.

All 16 passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation.

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente warned anew those who would like to work abroad not to fall victims to illegal recruiters and only to transact with government-accredited manpower companies.

“We wish to warn our kababayan about this modus, do not fall for the sweet-talk of these illegal recruiters. They only want to profit at your expense,” he said.

“Many still attempt to leave in the guise of being tourists, some in fake group tours,” the BI chief added.  Ferdinand Patinio / PNA – northboundasia.com