BI banks on proposed modernization law to eradicate human trafficking cases

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 06 2023 04:37 PM

Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Security before the immigration counters check international passengers' passport and boarding pass at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City on April 24, 2023. The Manila International Airport Authority plans to implement RFID passes for airport workers in light of alleged airline personnel involved in human trafficking according to the Bureau of Immigration. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration on Tuesday said the proposed measure for their modernization will further help their fight against human trafficking.

Immigration Deputy Spokesperson Melvin Mabulac said the Modernization Act Bill could help filter foreign nationals when they enter Philippine borders.

Based on the House version of the bill, aside from international airports and seaports, the measure mandates border control checkpoints which shall be manned by immigration officers appointed as border control officers by the BI commissioner.

The bill also states that these border control checkpoints shall be placed in specific areas.

"We have to understand, ang current natin na batas ay ginawa during the time na hindi pa masyado iyong mode on transportation na eroplano, more sa barko; at iba po iyong border noong una, iyong mga crimes noon iba na," Mabulac said in a televised briefing.

"Kaya sa ganitong batas na ito, mas mapapaigting po natin ang pagsasala natin, pag-i-screen po natin ng mga foreign nationals na pupunta dito sa ating bansa," Mabulac added.

Those who can be considered as a threat will not be granted entry to the country, he said.

"Kung ikaw naman ay legit na traveler, basically we could facilitate na mas mabilis at mas magandang serbisyo sa kanila," he added.

The BI, as a member of the Interagency Council Against Trafficking, has task force in every port in the Philippines as it intensifies anti-human trafficking efforts.

Some immigration personnel continue to undergo training to spot potential trafficking victims, noted the official.

"Even before nagsisimula po ito sa community, sa social media at kung saan-saan and, we hope that even before makarating sila sa immigration, sana na-rescue na natin, na-intercept na natin para naka-extend tayo ng tulong at proteksiyon sa ating mga kababayan," he said.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez had said the Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act would improve travel experience and at the same time tighten up our border security.

It was passed on third and final reading on May 29, 2023.

Video from PTV