Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the Department of Justice (DOJ) has started evaluating the initial reports submitted by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on its fact-finding investigations into reports of trafficking of young women from Mindanao to Syria.
Guevarra said the probe is being done by the BI’s Board of Discipline and the reports submitted to the DOJ are being evaluated for the initiation of formal administrative disciplinary proceedings “if found warranted.”
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate’s Women and Children Committee, disclosed that girls from Mindanao, as young as 14, were being trafficked to Syra using the so-called “baklas passport” scheme.
Under the scheme, Hontiveros said the names and birth dates of the young women were forged so they could secure passports and leave the Philippines unnoticed.
The lady senator even presented video clips of three young women who recounted their experience.
Whistleblower immigration officer Allison “Alex” Chiong, on the other hand, told the Senate that corrupt BI officers even made a Viber chat group that listed the names of the females who were being trafficked.
“The breadth and depth of this revolting issue is one that we should take seriously,” Hontiveros stressed.
“As if exploiting our women is not enough, unscrupulous recruiters and human traffickers are also manipulating and abusing our children,” she added.