BI scrutinizes strictly marriage documents of Filipino travelers ‘due to reemergence of mail order bride scheme’

Immigration officers have intensified the checking of documents of departing Filipinos due to the reemergence of the “mail order bride scheme,” the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Monday, Feb. 19.

“Pinapaigting po natin ang pagveverify ‘yung mga dokumentong pinepresenta (We have intensified the verification of the documents presented),” said BI Deputy Spokesperson Melvin Mabulac on PTV’s Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon.

Mabulac explained the move was made due to reemergence of the “mail order bride” scheme wherein a Filipino human trafficking victim attempts to leave the country with his or her fake spouse.

“Karamihan po dito sa nabibiktima are actually looking for a job and they want to have a way out kung saan hindi na sila dadaan sa ating Department of Migrant Workers (Most of the victims are actually looking for jobs abroad and they are trying to look for ways without going through the Department of Migrant Workers),” he said.

He then urged Filipinos who are looking for jobs abroad “na dumaan kayo sa DMW (go through the DMW).”

If Filipinos intend to go abroad with a foreign fiancee or spouse, he said they should go through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

“Ang mail order bride ay naging modus po ‘yan 2016, 2018. Pero ngayon nag-reemmerge (The mail order bride scheme was a modus utilized in 2016 and 2018. But now it has reemerged,” Mabulac lamented.

He cited that since Jan. 1 this year, “meron na po tayong tatlo kaso (we already have three cases),” he said.

While before those involved were Koreans but now the cases involved Chinese nationals with Filipino victims attempting to go to China, he also said.

Of the three cases, a Filipina was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last Feb. 13 accompanied by a Chinese national who posed as her husband, Mabulac said.

He said the Chinese even presented an authentic marriage certificate. However, immigration officers found that the man was not in the Philippines during his supposed marriage to a Filipina.

It was found that the Chinese paid P40,000 for the marriage certificate from an agency in China which sent the document to the Philippines.