BI rescues 8 suspected trafficking victims at NAIA
Robie de Guzman • March 2, 2020 • 509
MANILA, Philippines – Eight suspected human trafficking victims were rescued by the authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.
In a statement issued Sunday, the BI said the victims were intercepted by its agents in three separate operations between February 27 to 29.
BI Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan said the first four of the female victims were intercepted last February 24 at NAIA Terminal 3 while attempting to depart to Bangkok, Thailand.
The four initially pretended to be tourists traveling together for a vacation but was later found to be in possession of United Arab Emirates visas. They also eventually admitted to being bound for Dubai to work as household service workers, the BI said.
“Upon interview, they alleged that their documents were processed by a fixer they only knew as Mark,” the bureau added.
On February 27, 3 more victims who attempted to fly to Brunei were intercepted by immigration officers at NAIA Terminal 3.
The BI said the passengers initially claimed to be overseas Filipino workers but system checks revealed that they carried falsified overseas employment certificates that belonged to someone else.
Meanwhile, an underage female was also intercepted by immigration officers at the NAIA Terminal 2 while she tried to depart as a Filipino worker to Riyadh.
“Upon interview, it was noted that she gave several inconsistent statements and could not answer basic questions about her age. She eventually admitted to lying about her age by presenting a falsified birth certificate,” the bureau said.
All eight individuals were referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in filing criminal cases against their recruiters, the BI said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is installing additional closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in international airports in the country as part of its efforts to improve passenger monitoring capability and prevent corruption among its port personnel.
In a statement, the BI said more than a hundred CCTV cameras were already installed at Terminals 2 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mactan-Cebu International Airports, and Clark International Airport.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, bureau’s port operations acting chief Grifton Medina said the CCTVs operate 24-hours a day in all immigration counters at the arrival and departure areas of the four airports, where all activities and movements of people captured by the cameras are recorded on real time basis.
The agency said several CCTV cameras will also be installed at the Davao International Airport, as well as in the ports of Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Bohol-Panglao, Zamboanga, and Subic.
According to Morente, the project is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders to institute more effective measures to monitor passenger movement and the actions of immigration personnel on duty at the airports.
“These CCTVs are effective deterrents against corruption as our officers will now be wary and discouraged to commit irregularities as all their actions will surely be caught on camera,” the BI Chief said.
Medina also reported that CCTVs previously installed at the NAIA Terminal 1 will be rehabilitated as part of the second phase of the project, which will be followed by the putting up of new cameras in several other international ports.
Aside from the ports, CCTVs were also put up at the bureau’s satellite and extension offices in Quezon City, Taguig and Makati Cities.
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has arrested an American wanted by United States authorities for alleged sexual exploitation of a Filipino minor.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente identified the suspect as 69-year old Michael Kent Clapper.
Morente said Clapper was arrested on Monday in San Manuel, Pangasinan during a joint operation conducted by operatives from the bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit, Women and Children Protection Center, and the Philippine National Police Region 1.
The BI chief said the arrest was made after the US Embassy sought the agency’s assistance in apprehending clapper due to his “involvement in possible sexual exploitation of a minor in the Philippines.”
Morente said Clapper has allegedly been in an “inappropriate relationship” with a 12-year old girl.
The Embassy also stated that Clapper’s US passport already expired, making him an undocumented alien who is subject to summary deportation.
“He will be deported for being an undocumented and undesirable alien,” Morente said.
“His continued presence here poses a serious risk to our Filipino children, anyone of whom could be his next victim,” he added.
The bureau said Clapper last arrived in the country as a tourist on March 26 last year.
He is temporarily detained at the San Miguel police headquarters pending release of his swab test for COVID-19.
If he tests negative for the virus, he will be committed to the BI Warden Facility in Bicutan, Taguig City where he will remain until he is deported.
Clapper will then be placed in the immigration blacklist and banned from re-entering the country, the BI said.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reiterated that Filipino tourists are still prohibited from traveling outside the country due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued a statement after six Filipinos were recently barred from going to Cambodia via a special chartered flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The said Filipinos were reported to be tourists with no essential purpose in leaving the country.
“We want to emphasize and reiterate that Filipinos are still prohibited from leaving the country unless they are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), holders of study visas or permanent residents in the country of their destination,” Morente said.
BI Port Operations Acting Chief Grifton Medina said the six passengers were offloaded from their flight last June 29 after they informed the immigration officer that they were going to Phnom Penh merely to attend a business meeting on shrimp farming.
The Bureau also said it will continue to implement existing international travel restrictions until these are lifted or relaxed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“These travel restrictions are only temporary and we should always bear in mind that the government implemented these measures to protect our countrymen against this deadly coronavirus,” Medina said. AAC
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