BY GMANEWS.TV ON January 17, 2011 CATEGORIZED UNDER HONG KONG, MALAYSIA, MID EAST & AFRICA, SINGAPORE
More than 21,000 prospective overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Aug. to Dec. last year as part of the government’s intensified campaign against human trafficking, the Bureau of Immigration said.
Immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma said the 21,709 persons who were offloaded from their flights all had tourist visas but intended to work upon reaching their destinations, putting them at risk with abuses, exploitation and even incarceration.
The BI started its drive against the so-called ‘tourist workers’ in August after Ledesma was appointed OIC.
The campaign, which was launched on orders of President Benigno Aquino III and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, aims to protect undocumented OFWs, most of whom are victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking syndicates.
Suspected tourist workers are barred from boarding their flights once they fail to show the necessary clearance and employment permits from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
Lawyer Maria Antonette Bucasas, BI airport operations division chief, said most of the offloaded passengers were bound for traditional OFW destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
Bucasas reported that of the total offloaded passengers, 11,990 were intercepted at the NAIA 1 terminal, 6,397 at the NAIA 3, and 3,322 were at the NAIA 2.