MANILA – Sixteen undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) disguised as tourists were barred from leaving the country last week, the Bureau of Immigration said in a statement Tuesday.
The OFWs were part of two batches intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 last August 7 as they were about to board their Cebu Pacific Airways flight for Taiwan and Hong Kong.
One batch consisted of 12 passengers bound for Taipei while the other group of four passengers were bound for Hong Kong.
“They all confessed during questioning that they are not tourists and that they were hired to work abroad by illegal recruiters,” BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said in a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.
The BI learned that the final destination of the 12 Taipei-bound OFWs mostly women was the United Arab Emirates. The OFWs said a Manila-based travel agency recruited them.
The remaining four women confessed that they were going to Hong Kong to process their visas to China where they were allegedly promised jobs by a Filipino-Chinese businessman.
All 16 passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation.