Immigration bureau: 2 Qatar-bound victims of illegal recruitment intercepted at NAIA

(Eagle News) — Authorities stopped two Filipinos who were victims of illegal recruitment from leaving the Philippines, the Bureau of Immigration said on Thursday night.

A report by Travel Control and Enforcement Unit Chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said that the passengers, whose names were withheld for their protection, were intercepted on Tuesday at the departure area of NAIA Terminal 3 after immigration officers found their Overseas Employment Certificates were not encoded in the bureau’s linked database with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

The Filipinos were attempting  to board a flight to Qatar via Qatar Airways.

According to the report, the two were subsequently referred to the terminal’s POEA Labor Assistance Center for verification of their documents.

The report said they returned with what appeared to be a validated slip, which the officers later discovered was falsified.

During questioning, the two admitted that their OEC validation forms were only given by their handler near the airport’s exit, according to the report.

The report said they had paid the person P35,000.

According to Barizo, falsifying OECs is futile because the bureau has an integrated system with the POEA to check if all departing OFWs are properly documented.

“Securing the proper documents and clearances from the POEA is crucial for all aspiring OFWs to protect them from abusive companies and employers,” Barizo added.

Immigration commissioner Jaime Morente lauded the immigration officers who, “in spite of pandemic woes, continue to show vigilance in their work as public servants.”

“This should now serve as a warning to syndicates who may have falsely believed that the bureau has become lenient in screening documents during the pandemic,” Morente said.

The two victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking.