BI ready for passenger influx during ‘ber months’

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is ready for the possible influx of passengers traveling in and outside the country as the ‘ber months’ start next week.

“Priority talaga natin ‘yan na maalalayan ‘yung mga OFWs na uuwi po sa peak season. Makakaasa po kayo na the Bureau of Immigration is very ready for the coming ber months,” said BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval at a public briefing.

“Maraming bagong immigration officers na nai-deploy sa ating mga paliparan, so makakasiguro ang ating traveling public na fully manned ‘yung ating mga counters part, especially sa NAIA,” she added.

Meanwhile, BI said that the green lanes designated for frequent travelers like the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) holders and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) would soon be initiated.

New departure guidelines

Sandoval also assured the public that the new departure guidelines in September would protect the departing Filipinos against human trafficking.

The guidelines were crafted by different government agencies and spearheaded by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IA-CAT).

“Nilinaw lang pon yung mga requirements sa bagong guidlines. Wala pong kailangang ikabahala ang mga kababayan natin na babyahe as tourists, wala pong karagdagang requirements o paghihigpit po doon lamang po sa mga other categories,” she said.

For first-time travelers, Sandoval said it is not necessary for the immigration officers to be strict as long as it is a legitimate travel with necessary documents.

“Ang tinitignan even before pa, is yung work, local ties niya sa Pilipinas. If legitimate ‘yung kaniyang travel, ‘yung purpose, financial capacity kung kaya niya i-sustain ‘yung travel niya abroad but yung diplomas, togas, ‘di po yan tinitignan sa immigration and sometimes additional IDs ‘yun lamang po sa regular tourists,” she noted.

Along with these, the passenger must secure their passport, round-trip tickets, and visa (if applicable to the country they are traveling to).

Human trafficking

On August 17, BI intercepted two alleged human trafficking victims at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Ang nakukuha po nating impormation sa mga biktima ay sila po ay kinukulong and (na-involve sa) prostitution. The immigration officers saw na maraming inconsistencies in their statements at nalaman na sila ay na-recruit to work illegally abroad,” Sandoval said.

She added that they have been turned over to the IA-CAT, as they will be provided with assistance while the investigation is ongoing to capture illegal recruiters.

“May nakuha tayong lead para mahuli yung recruiters nila and this information has been forwarded to IA-CAT para masupil ang mga nambibiktima sa mga kababaihan natin,” she said.

However, Sandoval said she could not give the exact figures of how many victims have been rescued so far but said it is a “daily thing” that women are subjected to human trafficking.

BI warned that under the Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act, it is a non-bailable offense in which offenders may suffer a maximum of 40 years in prison. –VAL, GMA Integrated News

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