Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Ricardo A. David Jr. urged immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to step up their vigilance and intensify the agency’s campaign against human trafficking.
David made the appeal during a dialogue with the bureau’s head supervisors and personnel assigned at the premiere port last Monday.
David directed Lina Andaman Pelia, BI airport operations division chief, to institute measures that will not only stop victims of illegal recruitment from leaving but also prevent the smuggling of illegal aliens.
He said the campaign against human trafficking should also target the syndicates that use the Philippines as a transit point for smuggling illegal aliens to other countries.
“Although we should be proud of our success in stopping thousands of undocumented OFWs from leaving, more efforts should likewise be exerted prevent the entry of illegal aliens who are later smuggled abroad by the syndicates that recruited and victimized them,” the immigration chief added. Immigration officers at the NAIA have been offloading thousands of passengers since August last year when it launched its intensified drive against human trafficking.
Most of the offloaded passengers were prospective OFWs bound for Asian destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong, and the Middle East but did not have the required overseas employment certificate from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
David said the BI will soon be deploying more immigration officers to the NAIA to augment the personnel who process and screen passengers.
He also stressed the need to conduct more training programs that will bolster the capability of BI personnel in profiling suspected illegal aliens and detecting fraudulent travel documents.
“Deploying more immigration officers will not serve its purpose unless we are sure that they have the capability and the know-how to perform their jobs,” he added.