Thirty undocumented Filipino workers bound for the Middle East were barred from leaving the country by Immigration officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
In a press release Saturday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said the workers – 18 women and 12 men – were about to board their flight Friday when they were prevented from doing so by the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU).
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said the workers initially claimed they would be visiting friends or relatives in Dubai.
He said they were able to present tourist visas and return tickets, however, inconsistencies in their stories made officers suspicious, and turned them over to the TCEU for a secondary inspection.
The BI said the passengers later admitted they were going to work abroad, adding their travel documents were given to them by a handler who met them outside the airport.
They were then turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation where the filing of trafficking charges against their recruiters would be facilitated.
BI-TCEU Chief Erwin Ortañez said 29 of the Filipinos would be working as waiters and waitresses in various Dubai hotels, while one was bound for Baghdad to work as a kitchen supervisor.
All but one passenger had valid tourist visas issued by the United Arab Emirates’ Interior Ministry.