Entry of Indons using fake PH passports sparks alarm

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A lawmaker yesterday raised concerns over the alleged increasing presence of Indonesians carrying fake Philippine passports in Mindanao.

This after five Indonesian terrorists who pledged their allegiance to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed during a clash against the military troops in the borders of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces.

Indonesian terrorists also fought alongside Maute gunmen during the five-month siege in Marawi last year, and are believed to be still fighting with Maute remnants in the ongoing military pursuit operations in Lanao del Sur.

In 2016, 170 Indonesians managed to obtain Philippine passports by pretending to be part of a delegation during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Citing intelligence reports, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu said foreign nationals enter the country through General Santos City on their way to Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Mangudadatu is set to file a resolution in the House of Representatives seeking to investigate the matter as they resume session next month.

He also raised the possibility of conspiracy between these foreigners and personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The Mindanaoan lawmaker also called on DFA to probe the incident and dismiss its personnel who may be involved in counterfeiting passports.

However, the DFA stressed that counterfeiting passports is difficult to do because of their new security features.

The police, meanwhile, assured the public that they remain vigilant for foreigners that may enter the country with fake passports.