The Bureau of Immigration welcomed the investigation, saying it is one with the Justice department in cleansing its ranks.
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NBI probes Immigration personnel for human trafficking, escort services schemes
Kristine Joy Patag ( - February 7, 2020 - 5:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe Bureau of Immigration employees supposedly working in human trafficking schemes.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra directed NBI to conduct a case build up on the “alleged involvement of BI officials and personnel in human trafficking activities and escort services.”

The investigation will cover “facilitating the departure of Filipino tourists intending to work abroad especially in Kuwait and entry of foreign nationals to the Philippines, at the Clark International Airport, Puerto Princesa Airport and Kalibo International Airport.”

The memo is dated January 22 but was made public only Friday.

Guevarra, in a separate message to reporters, said that when he issued the memo, “there were reports of new OFWs headed for Kuwait (banned) and other restricted places in the Middle East but would transit first in Malaysia or Indonesia.”

The Philippines implemented a total employment ban to Kuwait earlier in January following the death of domestic helper Jeanelyn Villavende. The country partially lifted the ban on Thursday, February 6.

The Justice chief said that the undocumented foreign nationals may have been allowed entry into the country through the scheme allegedly made in connivance with Immigration employees.

The Immigration bureau and the NBI are under the DOJ.

The bureau, meanwhile, said it is open, and it welcomes the investigation.

“We are at one with the DOJ in our goal of cleaning up our ranks,” Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a statement sent to reporters.

Sandoval said the BI has dismissed and suspended more than 60 personnel due to various offenses since mid 2019.

She warned that violators will face administrative and criminal cases.

“We will not hesitate to impose harsh penalties to others who are found to be committing such acts... This will serve as a warning to all who still attempt to conduct corrupt practices in the Bureau,” Sandoval added.

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