By Jun Ramirez
Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted 16 undocumented overseas Filipino workers who attempted to leave the country by disguising themselves as tourists.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were intercepted in two batches at the NAIA 3 terminal last Aug. 7 as they were about to board their Cebu Pacific Airways flights to Taiwan and Hong Kong.
One batch of 12 passengers was bound for Taipei while the other group of four was bound for Hongkong.
“They all confessed during questioning that they are not tourists but were hired to work abroad by illegal recruiters,” Medina said.
Information obtained from BI-NAIA 3 travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) chief Anthony Lopez said the 12 Taipei-bound passengers, mostly women, admitted that their final destination was supposed to be the United Arab Emirates where they were recruited to work by a travel agency based in Manila.
The four Hong Kong-bound women confessed that they were going to Hong Kong to process their visas for China where they were promised jobs by a Filipino-Chinese businessman.
All 16 passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation.