BI raises alert vs. illegal recruitment via sham marriage

By Ferdinand Patinio

February 19, 2024, 8:02 pm

<p>BI deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac<em> (Screengrab from PTV)</em></p>

BI deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac (Screengrab from PTV)

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said it has intensified its watch against a form of illegal recruitment where victims are lured through a "fixed marriage", which is supposedly run by a big syndicate.

In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing, BI deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac revealed that they so far logged three cases of this scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"Tiningnan po natin iyong nangyari noong February 13, nakakuha po ng marriage certificate ang isang Chinese na ito at doon sa isang agency na nag-apply siya doon sa China. At ang naging part ng ating biktima, ang ginawa niya, nagpadala siya ng kanyang mga certificate of no marriage, iyong kanyang birth certificate, iyong kanyang ID (We looked at the incident that occured last Feb. 13, when a Chinese national obtained a marriage certificate from an agency and applied in China. The part of the victim was she sent her certificate of no marriage, her birth certificate and her ID)," Mabulac said at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing.

“At iyon ang ginawang parang kasama sa mga dokumentong isinubmit doon sa agency at nagbayad iyong Chinese ng PHP40,000. At nito lamang February, ang marriage certificate ay pinadala sa ating biktima dito sa Pilipinas at iyon ay kanyang ginamit bilang isang presentasyon na siya ay aalis at kasama na iyong kanyang asawang Chinese (The victim's documents were submitted to the agency and the Chinese national paid PHP40,000. This February, the marriage certificate was sent to the victim here in the Philippines and that was what she used in departing together with her Chinese spouse),” the BI official added.

Mabulac said they are thoroughly scrutinizing the documents of passengers to curb this activity.

He, meanwhile, reminded the public especially those looking to work abroad not to fall prey to this illegal activity and to always check available jobs abroad before agencies engaged in overseas employment.

“Kaya pinapaalala po natin sa ating mga kababayan, if ever po kayo po nag-iinteres na magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, kayo po (ay) dumaan sa ating DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) (To our kababayans, if ever your are interested to work abroad, go through the DMW),” the BI official added.

He also noted that if a person would like to get married, he/she has to apply for a spouse visa or fiancé visa and they also have to go to the Commission on Filipino Overseas for verification.

Filipinos should also undergo a PEDOS (Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar), to ensure their safety and protection overseas while married to a foreign national.

Addressing queues

Meanwhile, Commissioner Norman Tansingco addressed a recent post on X (formerly Twitter) on immigration queues.

He said that despite the queues, passengers were speedily processed and the area was empty in 40 minutes.

In the post, a netizen complained of long lines on Monday morning after his flight landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Tansingco noted that queues are expected as eight flights carrying almost 1,800 total passengers arrived at the same period.

“Our immigration officers had to process all these flights that arrived at the same time,” he said in a statement.

The BI chief added that he has been closely monitoring airport operations, and said that heavy queuing was observed at around 6:20 a.m., but the arrival area was clear by 7 a.m. (PNA)