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Immigration intercepts alleged foreign illegal workers

Elmer Navarro Manuel

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) revealed on Tuesday that it has barred entry to 242 foreigners suspected of intending to work illegally in the Philippines, intercepting them at three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 21 to 28 February.

This comes after the relief from duty of the gateway’s terminal heads as the bureau investigates allegations of corruption within their ranks.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that 79 of the foreigners were barred entry at NAIA 1, 33 at NAIA 2, and 130 at NAIA 3, adding that the number included citizens of Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and China.

However, the bureau did not provide a breakdown.

BI intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr., on the other hand, said the bureau has noticed attempts by suspected illegal workers to use other ports to enter the Philippines, calling this a “cause for concern.”

“Our frontliners will heighten our efforts in screening these aliens. We are in close coordination with our foreign counterparts in ensuring that no aliens with bad records enter the country,” Manahan said in a separate statement.

He said foreign fugitives who are already in the country will be deported.

To recall, Morente recently ordered a reshuffle of all of the BI’s personnel at NAIA as an anti-corruption measure amid allegations that immigration officers have been escorting Chinese nationals through the immigration process in exchange for a fee.

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