‘Disappointed, frustrated’ BI chief initiates probe on human trafficking allegations

Published March 24, 2021, 2:15 PM

by Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has ordered a separate investigation on the sending of 44 Filipino women to war-torn Syria by human trafficking syndicates.

(PIA / MANILA BULLETIN)

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente initiated the probe after some of the victims detailed their tragic flights to the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chaired by Sen. Riza Hontiveros.

Initially, 28 immigration officers mostly detailed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were implicated in the racket.

“I have immediately created a fact-finding panel to find out how the victims left the country and who among our people facilitated their trip,” Morente said.

The BI chief also asked the Department of Justice (DOJ), the mother unit of the agency, to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the culprits.

“I am a loss for words from what I heard, disappointed and frustrated about the involvement of some (of) our men in the nefarious activities, tarnishing the image of the whole bureau,” Morente said.

According to Morente, the BI has barred more than 113,000 individuals from leaving the country between 2017 and 2020 on suspicion that they were human trafficking victims.

 
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