BI heightens alert vs human smuggling

MANILA -- Following the recent foiled attempts to smuggle illegal aliens to the United Kingdom using Manila as a jump off point, the Bureau of Immigration has stepped up its monitoring of all arriving foreigners at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued an alert order to prevent attempts by the human smuggling syndicate to use the NAIA as a base for their operations.

We should not allow these syndicates to profit from their racket to the detriment of our nation's prestige, he said in a statement.

Such nefarious activities, if not checked, could embarrass our country before the international community, the BI chief added.

Morente also lauded the ommigration officers for their competence, diligence and dedication as gatekeepers of our country.

He also hailed the heightened capability of immigration officers to detect fraudulent documents saying, we are starting to reap the fruits of our continuous training and deployment of seasoned officers in our borders.

In compliance with the BI chief's directive, BI port operations division (POD) chief Marc Red MariAas instructed members of the bureau's border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) to assign undercover agents who will monitor all arriving foreign transit passengers.

He added that the BCIU personnel were also told to closely scrutinize the travel papers of all transit passengers before they are escorted to the departure gate and made to board connecting flights to their final destinations.

As standard operating procedure, aliens transiting at the NAIA are escorted by BCIU personnel to the boarding gates where they are turned over to the concerned airlines of their connecting flight.

Since November 25, the BI reported that a total of five foreign transit passengers were intercepted by agents at the NAIA for involvement in human smuggling.

They were all found in possession of spurious travel documents which they intended to use in gaining illegal entry to the UK, MariAas said.

The apprehended passengers, who arrived on four separate dates and flights, included two Chinese nationals, two Iranians and a Somali.

The Chinese men carried tampered Macau passports while the Iranians presented Slovakian and French passports, respectively.

The Somali national, meanwhile, pretended to be a Swedish citizen.

Source: Philippine News Agency