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Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that 71-year-old Alfons Hermann Keittl was arrested last Thursday in Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental by operatives from the bureau’s fugitive search unit (FSU). Morente said Keittl’s deportation was sought by the German embassy in Manila which informed the Bureau of Immigration about an arrest warrant that a local court in the town of Landshut, Germany issued against the fugitive last July.

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) urged aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to avoid human traffickers and illegal recruiters who would prey on their vulnerabilities, after the agency uncovered the recurrence a modus operandi of a syndicate that houses and trains its victims at safe houses before deployment abroad. Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the reminder after two women were recently barred from leaving the country for misrepresenting their age and narrating their experience with the syndicate that recruited them. The women had alleged that they were kept by their handlers in a safehouse in Paco, Manila for two months before they were booked for their flights.

Morente instructed the bureau’s port operations division (POD) and travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) to conduct strict profiling and inspection of departing passengers to ensure that no underage OFWs are able to leave. According to Bureau of Immigration POD chief Grifton Medina, the two women, aged 19 and 20, were intercepted last Sept. 21 at the NAIA terminal 2 in their attempt to board a connecting flight from Dubai to Saudi Arabia. Medina said the passengers both presented valid passports, visas, job contract, and overseas employment certificates but the birth dates in their documents were intentionally altered to make it appear that they meet the age requirement for Household Service Workers which is 23 years. “Both women initially claimed that they were 26 years old, but eventually admitted their real age upon questioning,” Medina said. Bureau of Immigration-TCEU chief Timotea Barizo said that the women recounted how they were housed for two months at a safehouse in Manila where they were briefed and taught by their recruiters how to respond to questions from immigration officers. “We've heard this in the past, usually victims would be briefed a few days before their flight. But now they're actually housed for months to train on how to evade immigration questioning," said Barizo. "The two victims admitted that their documents were given only prior to departure, and that they were told to open it only after check in. This forces them to go on and comply with the scheme despite the discrepancy since they are already there,” Barizo said. Morente reiterated his reminder to OFWs not to fall prey to these schemes. "Transact only with legitimate agencies accredited by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration)," he reminded.

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently barred from leaving the country seven undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who attempted to depart in the guise of being tourists. BI Port Operations Acting Chief, Grifton Medina said the passengers were deferred to depart after being intercepted on separate occasions last week at NAIA Terminal 2 and 3.

“They were not allowed to leave after they admitted under questioning that they are not tourists but are actually going abroad to work,” He said. He reiterated his warning to those who intend to work overseas not to evade the travel requirements for OFWs by pretending to be tourists as “there is very little chance you will not be caught by our vigilant immigration officers at the airports.” Reports submitted by the Travel Control and Enforcememt Unit (TCEU) Head, Ma. Timotea C. Barizo to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that two of the passengers were intercepted at NAIA 2 last Sept. 14 as they were about to depart for Hongkong. They were barred to depart after they were noticed traveling with a woman who is in the bureau’s alert list of suspected human traffickers facilitating the deployment of undocumented workers abroad. On Sept. 15, four Malta-bound “tourist workers” were apprehended at the NAIA 2 departure area after they presented questionable documents regarding the purpose of their travel. They initially claimed they were attending a symposium but later admitted during interview that they were hired to work as maids in Malta. They further alleged that each of them gave P500,000 to their handler in return for processing their travel documents and visas. Barizo also reported the interception last Sept. 17 of a Filipina bound for Istanbul, Turkey who was caught in possession of a fraudulent overseas employment certificate. All seven passengers were turned over to the NAIA Task Force Against Trafficking in Person (NAIATFAT) for further investigation.

 

Read more: https://borderops.ph/news/press-release/822-7-undocumented-ofws-not-tourist-but-going-abroad-to-work-this-according-to-bureau-of-immigration-port-operations-chief-grifton-medina

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