Filipina rescued from mail-order bride syndicate

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Filipina rescued from mail-order bride syndicate
File photo shows passengers waiting in line at the immigration area as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 services more international flight departures and arrivals.
The STAR / Rudy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) rescued a suspected victim of a mail-order bride syndicate, targeting Filipinas sent to China under false pretenses.

In the agency’s press release on Friday, it said that the BI’s officers intercepted a woman at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on March 15, just before boarding a China Southern Airlines flight to Guangzhou, China.

“As per marriage certificate, the wedding was solemnized by a female preacher but in a wedding picture she presented that solemnizing officer appears to be a man,” BI’s immigration protection and border enforcement section said in its report.

The woman claimed to be joining her supposed spouse in China, presenting a marriage certificate from a purported civil wedding in Pasig City last January.

However, discrepancies emerged in her documents, such as the officiant's gender in the wedding photo, differing from the marriage certificate.

Confronted with inconsistencies, the victim confessed that the marriage was arranged by a recruiter, who promised her half a million pesos upon arrival in China.

The recruiter is also in the business of recruiting Filipinas who are willing to become brides to Chinese nationals, according to the woman.

The victim also admitted that she had never met her "husband" before his vacation to the Philippines and that they had never been into a long-distance relationship

The mail-order bride scheme that victimizes Filipinas often end up working as domestic helpers and be subjected to unfair labor practices by their employer-spouse, according to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco.

He emphasized that the scam has already harmed Filipinas, who were drawn into it by extravagant money promises that turn out to be unfulfilled when they travel abroad.

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