BI probes human trafficking execs

Hontiveros

The Bureau of immigration is investigating the claims of Senator Risa Hontiveros that several Bureau of Immigration personnel are allegedly involved in the outbound human trafficking of Filipinos to Cambodia.

In a video statement, Hontiveros said a certain “Miles,” who was a victim of the human trafficking, reached out to her office to expose the scheme that is endangering the lives of Filipinos in Cambodia.

“We have learned that there are officials from the Bureau of Immigration at the Clark airport who are allegedly involved in the outbound human trafficking to Cambodia,” the senator said.

Recruiters of these Filipinos who were trafficked to Cambodia allegedly paid between P75,000 and P100,000 to immigration officials to let them leave without a hassle, according to Miles.

The Filipinos ended up working for crypto scammers, which they hadn’t signed up for.

In an interview, BI spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said the agency was investigating the matter.

“We are currently investigating at least three persons of interest that might be involved in this case,” Sandoval told Daily Tribune.

She said that initially the probe centered on two personnel, one assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the other assigned to the Clark International Airport.

“Commissioner [Norman] Tansingco had a meeting yesterday with BI airport heads, and another person of interest was discussed, bringing the total number to three,” she said.

Sandoval added the three personnel had been relieved from their posts.

She said Tansingco had ordered the immediate reshuffling of immigration officers at the CIA and NAIA.

The bureau has also tasked its Border Control and Intelligence Unit to conduct counterintelligence and to serve as a third unit to monitor the activities of airport personnel.

Sandoval said the bureau aims to minimize the interactions between airport personnel and passengers as part of its long-term plan.

“Lastly, the swift action against erring officers as happened in this case I think would be a big deterrent to those who might be enticed to join such activities,” she said.

Hontiveros lambasted the BI for the alleged involvement of some of its personnel in the scheme.

“It is the duty of airport and immigration officers to be the last line of defense against the trafficking of our citizens. If this is true, it is saddening that government employees are the ones putting the lives of their fellow Filipinos at risk,” she said.

The lawmaker said those involved in the human trafficking of Filipinos should be held accountable for their crime.

“The accomplices (in the BI) of these illegal recruiters and syndicates should be held accountable. Our Senate committee will spare no effort in ensuring that accountability is established and justice served,” she said.


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