CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga – Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport intercepted two female illegal recruitment victims bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a press release issued Monday.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Travel Control Enforcement Unit (TCEU) officers detailed the interception of the two who attempted to board an Emirates Airlines flight to Dubai on March 18.
The two victims presented themselves as legitimate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with valid overseas employment certificates (OEC) and employment contracts, according to the report.
However, primary inspection officers noted discrepancies in the documents and referred them to the TCEU for inspection.
The TCEU officers then presented the documents to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Labor Assistance Center officer on duty at the airport terminal to verify their authenticity.
“Through the checks, it was confirmed by the POEA officer on-duty that the contract the victims submitted were not verified by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai, and were faked,” Morente said.
Upon interview, the victims admitted that they received their employment contract from an agent they met online a day before their flight.
“They were instructed by this fixer to delete all conversations from their phones pertaining to their travel,” Morente said. “It was obviously a ploy to depart through illegal means,” he added.
Similar schemes are suspected to be used by Filipina victims being illegally deployed to a third country, such as war-torn Syria, Morente said.
“Illegal agencies falsify existing documents of legitimate OFWs,” Morente said. “This modus operandi is a reemerging one, wherein the fixer falsifies employment contracts in the UAE, attaches it to an approved OEC, and submits it for primary inspection. We are able to intercept attempts when we see discrepancies in their records,” he added.
Morente said the fake contracts are presented to evade rigorous checking, to make it seem like they are being deployed to UAE when in fact they are illegally sent to a different country. (PR)