PASAY, Philippines— Bureau of Immigration Chief Grifton Medina."Our immigration officers found numerous inconsistencies in their statements. They all eventually admitted having United Arab Emirates (UAE) visas in their possession and that their final destination is Dubai where they were recruited to work as household service workers.". Four undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) hired to work as household service workers (HSW) in Dubai were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for attempting to leave for Bangkok in the guise of being tourists, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

“We are in the midst of an intensified campaign against human trafficking, thus we are warning aspiring OFWs to comply with the rules and requirements for overseas workers,” said Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente in a statement. “We are likewise warning recruiters and other cohorts not to attempt to assist or vouch for illegal workers, as you will face human trafficking cases which could lead to life imprisonment,” he added. The Bureau of Immigration chief issued the statement after immigration officers intercepted four women at the NAIA Terminal 3 who pretended they were going to Thailand as vacationing tourists. Bureau of Immigration port operations division chief Grifton Medina reported that the women were about to board a flight to Bangkok last Oct. 9 when they were intercepted by members of the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU). “They pretended that they all knew each other as they were co-workers and friends,” said Medina. He added that a woman who allegedly recruited the workers and was supposed to vouch for them and accompany them in their trip was also barred from leaving. They were all turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and filing of appropriate charges, Medina said. Bureau of Immigration TCEU chief Timotea Barizo said the women initially claimed to be employed at the travel agency owned by their recruiter, who also arranged their trip to Bangkok. “During immigration inspection, the recruiter would act as the spokesperson for the entire group. She kept on answering for everyone, and has everyone’s documentation. This caused our officers to further doubt their story, hence they verified and eventually discovered the deceit,” said Barizo. “We are noticing here a pattern where trafficking victims are being made to appear as employees of their recruiters. But such scheme will not work anymore, luma na yan, we knew of this trick a long time ago,” Barizo said. The names of the passengers were not divulged to a prohibition in the anti-trafficking law.

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Last August 2008, I led the delegation of Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary which attended the US Coast Guard Auxialiary’s annual National Convention in my new capacity as PCGA National Director. It was there, during the International Round Table discussion, that the US Coast Guard Auxiliary presented the task of forming an alliance of Search and Rescue Organizations in the Asia Pacific Region. COMMO Ray Campbell, National Commodore of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (AVCGA) and I, accepted the challenge and committed that we would try to form the alliance before the next USCGA National Convention in August 2009.

Three months after, on November 2008, being invited to attend the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association’s annual convention, I led four other flag officers to Brisbane, Australia. There we signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the AVCGA, similar to what we have with the USCGA. After the convention, we had a meeting where we agreed to organize an Asia Pacific conference tentatively to be held in February or March of 2009 in Manila, Philippines.

Seven suspected victims of human traffickings were rescued by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after they were intercepted for possessing spurious travel documents. “These fraud syndicates continue to ignore our warnings. There will be no letup in our campaign against human trafficking and their victims will not be allowed to leave if they are caught,” said Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente. Morente issued the statement after the seven passengers were stopped from leaving the country last week in three separate instances at Terminals 3 and 1 of the NAIA.

The latest interception involved five passengers who pretended to be tourists in attempting to leave for Malaysia last Oct. 5 at NAIA 3. “They admitted paying their recruiters fees ranging from P125,000 to P175,000 each in exchange for processing their jobs and travel papers to Australia, which was their final destination,” said Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina. The passengers were reportedly accompanied by a woman who was also stopped due to a pending court cases of estafa and illegal recruitment. ‘They also presented fraudulently manufactured employee IDs which were given to them by their handlers to make it appear that they are gainfully employed here and are thus legitimate tourists,” Medina added. Earlier, the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that a Malaysia-bound woman was intercepted also at NAIA 3 last Sept. 24 for having a spurious United Kingdom visa and tampered pages on her passport. “We also discovered that she was already previously barred from leaving the country on suspicion of being a tourist worker,” Bureau of Immigration-TCEU chief Timotea Barizo said. On Oct. 2, TCEU members also stopped from leaving an underage overseas Filipino worker who misrepresented her age by falsifying her date of birth. All seven passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

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The UPHSD College of Maritime Education is devising all measures to effectively assist its maritime cadets to enable them to undergo their on board training at the earliest possible time. 

While most cadets prefer to be accommodated on board international vessels for the conduct of their shipboard or on board training (OBT), domestic vessels likewise provide significant number of OBT berths for maritime cadets. 

While cadets are paid their allowances on board international vessels, cadets normally pay for the extra cost of board and lodging while undergoing shipboard training on board domestic vessels.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently barred from entering the country a Taiwanese fugitive wanted in his country for business fraud. In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, Bureau of Immigration port operations division chief Grifton Medina identified the Taiwanese as 70-year-old Miao Jwu-Yi, who was intercepted September 30 at the NAIA 1 terminal upon his arrival from Hongkong. Medina said Miao was apprehended after his name registered a hit in the Bureau of Immigration’s database of blacklisted foreigners with derogatory records.

He was flown to Taipei the following day, together with his escorts from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila, Medina added. TECO officials said Miao was convicted and sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2017 for violating Taiwan’s Business Entity Accounting Act. The said act prescribes the code of conduct and rules of practice for Taiwan’s accountants and provides penalties for violators. Miao reportedly went into hiding and fled Taiwan upon learning of his conviction, prompting the district prosecutor’s office in Taipei to issue a warrant for his arrest. Atty. Rommel Tacorda, the BI’s border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) chief, disclosed that prior to his flight, Miao was issued a single-use travel document by TECO because the Taiwanese government had earlier cancelled his passport. “He remains in our blacklist, thus he will be barred again from entering our country if he attempts to return in the future,” Tacorda said.

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