A number of immigration officers assigned to the Ninoy Aquino Internatonal Airport (NAIA) and three other major airports outside Metro Manila are under investigation for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed on Monday that the immigration officers were accused of facilitating the departure of several Filipinas to South Korea and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, despite the women’s doubtful purpose of travel and presentation of questionable documents.
Morente did not identify the airport immigration officers pending results of investigation.
The identities of the victims were not revealed either in compliance with a prohibition of the Anti-Human Trafficking Law.
Morente said the concerned immigration officers face administrative sanctions and even dismissal from the service if proven guilty.
“We will not hesitate to punish any of our employees who connive with human traffickers in preying on our women. That is unforgivable,” the immigration chief added in a statement.
The immigration officers were issued show-cause orders requiring them to explain within 72 hours why they should not be administratively charged for allowing the women to leave.
They were also immediately sacked from their immigration airport counter duties and their immigration stamps confiscated.
Morente ordered the probe after the five women victims arrived at the NAIA on July 23 after being deported from South Korea.
The women departed the Philippines posing as tourist and their Korean entertainers’ visas were placed on their passports only during their stopover in Hong Kong.
They worked as nightclub singers in South Korea and were eventually deported for overstaying. Their promoter there was also arrested.
In a separate incident, NAIA immigration authorities recently apprehended three suspected illegal recruiters caught escorting five of their victims bound for Dubai.
The victims admitted that they were hired by their “escorts” to work as beauty parlor workers in the emirate without complying with Philippine Overseas Employment Agency requirements. They were asked to pose as tourists.
Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI spokesperson, disclosed that the immigration officer who cleared the passengers’ departure is also being investigated.
The passengers, on the other hand, were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking for further investigation.
Morente earlier ordered the reshuffle of immigration officers assigned at NAIA Terminals I, II and III and other ports of entry to rid the service of corruption and improve its services.