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Binay tells IACAT: Check if OFWs from Syria are trafficking victims

- Jose Rodel Clapano () - March 14, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay wants to know if the latest batch of overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who returned with him from Syria are victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Binay, presidential adviser on OFWs’ concerns, ordered the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to make the check immediately after his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal I Monday night.

“We want to make sure that these OFWs were recruited via legal channels, and if not, we want to identify the person or agencies that recruited them so that we can file the necessary charges against them,” he said.

The 37 OFWs, the latest batch of repatriates from Syria, arrived in the same Emirates Air flight with Binay. They included the first repatriates since the start of violence in that country last year.

Binay, chairman of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment and chairman emeritus of IACAT, noted that most of the OFWs are from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and suspects many of them were illegally recruited and trafficked outside the country, he added.

Binay has also ordered a mandatory interview of all returning OFWs regardless of the country of origin. The IACAT is set to interview the repatriates yesterday.

Binay asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to look into reports that the Syrian government has been holding OFWs in the Damascus and Aleppo airports for days without food.

 “If the reports are true, then we cannot allow this,” he said. “We will exhaust all possible diplomatic channels to afford our kababayans the basic human decency that they deserve.”

AUTONOMOUS REGION BINAY DAMASCUS AND ALEPPO DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS EMIRATES AIR FILIPINO WORKERS INTER-AGENCY COUNCIL AGAINST TRAFFICKING MUSLIM MINDANAO NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TERMINAL I MONDAY OFWS PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE AGAINST ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT
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