BI to review offloading rules at NAIA

November 9, 2011 10:38 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 9 — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday has started reviewing its screening procedures due to the mounting complaints against indiscriminate offloading of Filipino travelers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said in a statement that an inter-agency body is now conducting the review prior to the issuance of new guidelines that immigration officers shall observe in processing departing travelers.

“The group was tasked to undertake a thorough study and review of our existing practices at the airports so that these complaints from the traveling public can be addressed,” the BI chief said.

Representatives from the Department of Justice, Department of Tourism, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the BI, are among those agencies reportedly involved to study the offloading rules.

According to David, the technical working group was formed two weeks ago during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking (IACA), chaired by Vice President Jejomar Binay. <>David stressed it is not so simple to create new rules that are acceptable to all parties, adding that the BI cannot just relax its procedures to the extent that the government’s drive against human trafficking will be compromised.

On the other hand, he appealed to the recruitment sector to understand the plight of immigration officers “who are in the forefront of the campaign against human trafficking.”

He pointed out that immigration officers are being blamed every time a Filipino traveler had been offloaded, and also when a human trafficking victim is caught and stranded abroad.

A very disturbing report reaching David’s office that the BI officers offloaded certain domestic helpers with valid overseas employment permits from the POEA.

The indiscriminate offloading of passengers are now being investigated and the immigration officers involved were ordered to submit their explanation.

On reports that contract workers bound for Iraq and Afghanistan are tightly screened, the BI chief explained that the deployment ban to the two countries has not been totally lifted.

He cited reports that POEA’s partial lifting of the deployment ban to Iraq and Afghanistan is being used by unscrupulous recruiters to trick their victims for applying jobs through them to the said countries. (PNA)

DCT/BLV/mec

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