Hontiveros: Informer tags BI officers at Clark airport in Filipino trafficking to Cambodia
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at Clark International Airport in Pampanga had been linked to the trafficking of Filipinos to Cambodia.
According to her, “Miles” – a Filipina who was allegedly trafficked to Cambodia to work as a cryptocurrency crook for a Chinese scammer – disclosed that recruiters supposedly pay around P75,000 to P100,000 to immigration officers for every Filipino they allow to leave the country without question.
Miles earlier reached out to the office of Hontiveros.
“Kung totoo, nakakalungkot na mismong mga empleyado ng gobyerno ang siyang nagpapahamak sa kapwa nating Pilipino,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(If true, it is sad that government employees themselves are the ones who are harming our fellow Filipinos.)
“Our Senate inquiries on the Pastillas scam resulted in the indictment of a number of BI officials, but it seems there are still groups or individuals within the agency who will stop at nothing to make an easy buck,” she also lamented.
Still citing information she gathered from Miles, the senator said trafficking victims were instructed to exit the country from Clark, Pampanga, as the recruiter had contacts with BI officers in that airport.
“Sa Clark, may escort po sila na immigration. May agent po doon na nagbu-book ng ticket at may contact na po doon mismo sa immigration officer. Hindi na iniinterview, wala na rin documents na hinihingi basta tinatatakan na lang po diretso … Ituturo kung anong booth ka pipila, iga-guide ka nila,” Miles revealed, as quoted in the statement released by Hontiveros’ office.
(In Clark, they have an escort from immigration. There is an agent there who books tickets and have direct contact with the immigration officer. They don’t conduct an interview or seek documents. They just instantly stamp the passport… You will be told which booth you should go to; they will guide you.)
Hontiveros said immigration officials and airport terminal managers, among others, will be invited to the upcoming hearing of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality to tackle persistent cases of outbound human trafficking of Filipinos.
“It is the duty of airport and immigration officers to be the last line of defense against the trafficking of our citizens. Sila ang makakapigil sa paglabas ng mga Pilipino papunta sa mga sindikato sa ibang bansa. Ang nangyayari, tila sila pa ang nagtutulak sa mga Pinoy na mapahamak,” she said.
(They are the ones who can prevent Filipinos from going to syndicates abroad. What is happening, it seems, is that they are even the ones pushing Filipinos into danger.)
“Mananagot ang sinumang mga nakikipagkuntsaba sa mga illegal recruiter at mga sindikato para mambiktima ng Pilipino. Our Senate committee will spare no effort to ensure that accountability be established and justice served,” she added.
(Anyone who conspires with illegal recruiters and syndicates to prey on Filipinos will be held accountable.)
Hontiveros’ statement came after the BI relieved two of its personnel due to suspected ties with human trafficking syndicates.
According to the BI, the personnel were discovered engaging in trafficking activities at the Clark International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
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