BI on alert during holidays
This undated photo shows the Bureau of Immigration main office in Intramuros, Manila.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file

BI on alert during holidays

Rudy Santos, Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - December 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) were placed on heightened alert yesterday to help enhance border security during the holiday season.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has ordered BI personnel assigned in international airports and seaports to be vigilant in screening arriving and departing travelers.

Morente warned human trafficking rings against taking advantage of the holiday rush to get their victims in or out of the country.

The BI has reported that foreigners were nabbed at the airports in Manila and Cebu with fake documents such as visas, marriage and birth certificates in botched attempts to avoid travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suspected trafficking victims and undocumented workers have been intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for attempting to leave with spurious travel documents, Morente said.

“These tricks will not work as immigration officers are trained in passenger assessment and detecting fraudulent travel documents,” he said.

Morente said while they are not expecting a surge in the number of international travelers because of the pandemic, the BI has deployed additional officers at the airports during the Christmas season.

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