BI warns of P5 million offer for blacklist removal

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
BI warns of P5 million offer for blacklist removal
Passengers queue before check-in counters at the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City on April 9, 2022.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration warned the public yesterday against a scam on social media offering the removal of names from the BI blacklist in exchange for P1 million up to P5 million.

“We have observed that the scam proliferates not only on Facebook but also on other messaging platforms such as WeChat,” Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said.

“There are some accounts of supposed immigration lawyers and legal officers. They create profiles using photos of our employees, with their badges or even the BI logo,” he added.

Tansingco issued the warning after Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order chairman Ka Kuen Chua testified during a Senate hearing that there are advertisements online offering the lifting of immigration blacklists for a fee.

A similar warning was issued by the BI in September last year after reports of fake employees offering illegal services surfaced on social media.

“This is a recurring scam that pops up every now and then,” Tansingco said. “We warn the public not to engage with these scammers to avoid being victimized.”

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the agency was not able to detect any irregularities in the inclusion or removal of names from the blacklist.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) expressed alarm over the online advertisements offering to lift immigration blacklists in exchange for cash.

The VACC said these illegal and unauthorized advertisements might lead people to believe that such services are being offered by the government.

“It gives the impression that corruption is rife in our agencies,” VACC president Arsenio Evangelista said in a statement.

Evangelista noted that similar scams have been reported in the past.

He urged the public to refrain from entertaining such offers and report to authorities any attempt to illegally solicit money in exchange for government services.

Evangelista said their group would continue to coordinate with Tansingco to help weed out corruption in the BI.

The VACC also expressed concern over reports that some foreign detainees at the BI jail in Taguig have been conniving with unscrupulous lawyers in abusing the immigration laws to prolong their stay in the country.


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