BI sees no links among personnel to Myanmar trafficking scheme

Benise Pabia Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2022 10:55 AM

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MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it has yet to find links among its personnel to the alleged human trafficking that has been illegally sending Filipinos to Myanmar.

“So far po, looking at the investigation po, sa Senado po and dito sa mga na-intercept natin, wala po tayong nakikitang link sa mga empleyado po natin,” Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval told TeleRadyo. 

(So far, in the Senate investigation and in our own probe, we don't see any links to our employees.)

“Especially po yung mga passports po ng mga biktima, nakita po natin na may mga fake na stamps, and they were pointing po to several individuals that are not employees of the bureau. May mga picture po na lumabas at mga pangalan, at hindi po ito mga empleyado ng ahensya,” she added.

(Especially since the victims' passports have fake stamps, and they are pointing to several individuals who are not Immigration employees. They are names and photos that have come up and these are not our employees.)

Sandoval stressed, however, that if there are Immigration personnel found to be involved in human trafficking will face administrative sanctions.

“But so far po, nakikita natin (we see that), it’s really a big issue, it’s a big syndicate po dahil and dami pong (because many are) involved and they know the weak spots of the airport, the different ingress and egress spots of the airport so we’re really worried na malaki po itong sindikatong ito (that this is a big syndicate).”

In a Senate inquiry Tuesday, it was revealed that Filipino workers trafficked into Myanmar were given fake airport employee identification (ID) cards and asked to wear uniforms so they could skip Immigration queues.

Sandoval said the employees’ entrance is separated from the Immigration area. She also noted that employee passes are given by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). 

The official said their internal investigation on the human trafficking scheme may also cover MIAA and other government and private entities operating near the airport. 

“Maaari po yan, and all the other agencies inside the airport kasi hindi lang po MIAA ang nasa loob ng airport. Marami rin pong mga government agencies and also private entities that are inside the airport,” she said.

(We can investigate them, and all other agencies in the airport because it's not just MIAA who's there. There are many government agencies and private entitites inside the airport.)

--TeleRadyo, 1 December 2022