The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it barred more than 38,000 travelers from leaving the country last year due to its unrelenting campaign against human trafficking in the different international ports. Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that the 38,522 persons whose departures were deferred last year is 16-percent more than the nearly 33,000 travelers who were stopped from leaving in 2018.

“The men and women manning our ports deserve to be commended for their vigilance. So long as there are people who are victimized by trafficking syndicates we will not relax our guard,” Morente said. “We are duty-bound to remove them from harm’s way.” The Bureau of Immigration chief specifically lauded personnel assigned to the bureau’s port operations division (POD) and travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) for their accomplishments. BI-POD chief Grifton Medina said most of the passengers were not allowed to board their flights for failure to comply with requirements for overseas bound passengers which are spelled out in guidelines promulgated by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). Medina said the said guidelines have been implemented in the past few years in order to combat human trafficking and illegal migration in the country’s ports of exit. According to BI-TCEU chief Ma. Timotea Barizo, about 85 percent or nearly 33,000 of the said passengers were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while the rest were stopped in the airports of Mactan, Clark, Iloilo, Kalibo, and Davao. Barizo said passengers were often intercepted for misrepresentation or for submitting fraudulent supporting and travel documents. She added that more than 400 passengers were turned over to the IACAT for investigation and filing of charges against their handlers and recruiters. It will be recalled that due to the government’s successful drive against trafficking, 

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) intercepted two Chinese and two Hongkong nationals for conspiring to transit to Canada with fraudulent travel documents. Bureau of Immigration port operations chief Grifton Medina said the four aliens were caught at the NAIA terminal 2 on Friday after they arrived aboard a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Hongkong.

Medina said the passengers’ ruse was foiled when airline personnel who doubted their documents referred them to the Bureau of Immigration’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) for questioning. According to Bureau of Immigration-TCEU chief Ma. Timotea Barizo, two of the passengers, Hongkong nationals identified as Lam Mik Ho and Mak Hin Chun Adrian were transiting in Manila, and were supposed to board their connecting flight to Toronto, Canada. The duo checked in with the airline's transfer desk upon landing, but airline representatives were surprised when another two, who were later identified as Chinese nationals Chen Kaihui and He Chaorong, presented Hong Kong passports bearing Lam and Mak's names. "There were two sets of Lam and Maks who wanted to transit to Canada, both sets carrying the same documents," Barizo shared. Upon forensic document examination, it was discovered that Chen and He presented fake Hong Kong passports, and merely assumed the identities. Chinese passports were later discovered in their possession. The four were stopped by immigration from boarding their flight to Canada. Canadian authorities likewise cancelled the electronic travel authorization (ETA) issued to Lam and Mak due to misrepresentation. Upon learning of the incident, Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente ordered the inclusion of the four aliens in the immigration blacklist. “These undesirable aliens should be banned from entering our country. They have no right to use the Philippines as a jump off point to enter other countries illegally. Let this serve as a warning. You will be caught,” Morente said. The four were immediately sent back to Hong Kong and were barred from re-entering the Philippines.

 

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INTRAMUROS, Manila--the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed its men on heightened alert as it braces itself for the upcoming South East Asian Games (SEA Games) and the holiday rush. According to Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, he issued the directive following the expected surge of Filipino and foreign travelers in the next few weeks. "We are expecting up to 3% increase in arrivals and departures this holiday season. We are certain that there will be more tourists and balikbayans who will be flying in this Christmas," said Morente.

"Even more now that the SEA Games will be held in the country, we are projecting an added 8,000 delegates including athletes, media, technical officials, volunteers, fans, and audiences," he added. Bureau of Immigration records show that in December 2018 alone, more than 1.5M passengers arrived the country, while more than 1.2M left. Morente shared that many of these are Overseas Filipino Workers and Filipinos living abroad, who come home to celebrate the Christmas season. "Christmas is probably the biggest and most anticipated holiday for our kababayan, hence it's really part of the Filipino culture to want to be home for the holidays," he commented. Meanwhile, Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina shared that they are again enforcing the 'No Leave, No Absences' policy during the SEA Games and holiday rush. "Our men have been instructed not to go on leave during the peak season to maximize our manpower," he said. Medina likewise reminded to travelers to "arrive early, at least three hours before your flight," and appealed to travelers to bear with build ups. The appeal came after a video of long lines at the Mactan Cebu International Airport made rounds on social media. "It was an isolated incident," said Medina. "Sudden buildups sometimes happen especially when there are delayed flights that arrive simultaneously, as in the case of the viral video," he explained. "We appeal to everyone to bear with us should there be some build up, which sometimes happen during peak seasons. But you can be assured that processing is now much faster following the numerous improvements we have implemented in our international ports," Medina added. It can be recalled that the Bureau of Immigration recently hired more than 600 Immigration officers to add to their manpower. Medina likewise highlighted the installation of e-gates which he said "lessens the processing by almost 6 times, lowering the regular 45 seconds to at least 8 seconds," “Our goal is to provide fast and smooth immigration inspection for the SEA Games and the upcoming Yuletide season,” said Medina. Morente reportedly instructed Medina to “keep a close eye on the immigration lines in all international airports to ensure they are minimized”.

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According to Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Chief Grifton Medina. —An Iranian fugitive wanted for an assault and battery case was intercepted by immigration officers upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday morning. Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Grifton Medina said 31-year-old Zare Bahari Bahareh was immediately excluded hours after she arrived at the NAIA terminal 3 aboard a Cebu Pacific flight from Dubai.

Medina said Zare Bahari, who was a respondent to an assault and battery case in Dagupan, was intercepted by Bureau of Immigration men upon seeing that her name has a hit in their derogatory database. According to Bureau of Immigration NAIA Terminal 3 Head Bradford Allen So, Zare Bahari was excluded as she is the subject of a red notice from Interpol. So likewise disclosed that during the implementation of Zare Bahari’s exclusion, another Iranian national they later identified as Minbashi Moeini Morteza had then approached the Immigration arrival area. "Morteza was unruly. He was able to enter restricted areas at the airport, collect the luggage of Bahari, and sneak into the immigration arrival area to personally fetch his compatriot, surprisingly without an airport pass," So said. He added that Morteza's presence in the arrival area was a brazen case of security breach that they had to immediately report to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). "Morteza and Zare Bahari were already causing a scene, and had to be forced apart by airport authorities, as Zare Bahari was screaming ‘Jesus kill you all Filipinos!’” So further shared. Morteza was reportedly then taken into custody by airport security personnel. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente then expressed his dismay towards the incident. “Foreign nationals should respect our laws when they are in our country. Improper behavior and derogatory remarks gave the officer further reason to deny Zare Bahari’s entry,” he stated. He likewise requested airport authorities to conduct an investigation on the illegal entry of Morteza in the airport premises. “This is a clear security breach, and should not be taken lightly. We are deeply concerned as to how this person was able to enter the airport without inspection,” he added.

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According to Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Chief Grifton Medina. —An Iranian fugitive wanted for an assault and battery case was intercepted by immigration officers upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday morning. Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Grifton Medina said 31-year-old Zare Bahari Bahareh was immediately excluded hours after she arrived at the NAIA terminal 3 aboard a Cebu Pacific flight from Dubai.

Medina said Zare Bahari, who was a respondent to an assault and battery case in Dagupan, was intercepted by Bureau of Immigration men upon seeing that her name has a hit in their derogatory database. According to Bureau of Immigration NAIA Terminal 3 Head Bradford Allen So, Zare Bahari was excluded as she is the subject of a red notice from Interpol. So likewise disclosed that during the implementation of Zare Bahari’s exclusion, another Iranian national they later identified as Minbashi Moeini Morteza had then approached the Immigration arrival area. "Morteza was unruly. He was able to enter restricted areas at the airport, collect the luggage of Bahari, and sneak into the immigration arrival area to personally fetch his compatriot, surprisingly without an airport pass," So said. He added that Morteza's presence in the arrival area was a brazen case of security breach that they had to immediately report to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). "Morteza and Zare Bahari were already causing a scene, and had to be forced apart by airport authorities, as Zare Bahari was screaming ‘Jesus kill you all Filipinos!’” So further shared. Morteza was reportedly then taken into custody by airport security personnel. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente then expressed his dismay towards the incident. “Foreign nationals should respect our laws when they are in our country. Improper behavior and derogatory remarks gave the officer further reason to deny Zare Bahari’s entry,” he stated. He likewise requested airport authorities to conduct an investigation on the illegal entry of Morteza in the airport premises. “This is a clear security breach, and should not be taken lightly. We are deeply concerned as to how this person was able to enter the airport without inspection,” he added.

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