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Cases filed vs illegal recruiters to Syria; Immigration men in hot water

/ 05:13 PM June 18, 2012

Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines -The government filed 29 illegal recruitment cases against agencies and persons recruiting Filipinos to work in Syria despite a government ban, Vice President Jejomar Binay said in a statement Monday.

At the same time, the case has exposed links of some immigration personnel to the illegal activity.

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“[As many as] 14 show-cause orders have been filed against Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel for their alleged involvement in the illegal smuggling of Filipinos,” Binay, also the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) concerns, added.

The statement noted a mandatory interview of all repatriated OFWs from the strife-torn nation conducted by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

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The statement said that based on the data from the interviews, only 330 of the 668 OFWs repatriated from Syria to date had verified passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“Only 196 departures or 59 percent of the total verified passports were recorded by BI officers,” the statement said.

The statement said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was set to issue formal administrative charges against the 14 and that hearings would commence within the week.

It said that before the end of the month, the DOJ would also issue additional show-cause orders to 11 more BI officers based on the findings from the latest batch of repatriates.

In the statement, Binay also called on OFWs to not seek employment in Syria, saying “your lives are not worth any amount of money that you may potentially earn there.”

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) revealed on Sunday that around 100 Filipinos arrive in Syria every month even though there has been a ban on the deployment of OFWs to the strife-torn country.  A new Syrian Law effective April 1, 2012 also stopped the issuance of entry visas to all Filipino nationals.

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TAGS: Bureau of Immigration, Features, Global Nation, Illegal recruitment, Jejomar Binay, Overseas Filipino workers
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