MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration is on heightened alert after receiving a report that human trafficking syndicates are looking to take advantage of the All Souls Day weekend exodus to send their victims abroad, an official said Monday.
All of the Bureau’s airport terminal heads and supervisors were ordered to immediately implement strict immigration assessment as part of “Oplan Undas” which will last until Nov. 4, said BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina.
“We have received intelligence reports that human traffickers and illegal recruiters will be sending many of their victims to travel abroad this week. They are mistaken if they think we will lower our guard during the peak season,” he said in a statement.
He said the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) was tasked to conduct secondary inspection on departing Filipinos with "doubtful purpose of travel."
“Most of the time, trafficking victims are instructed by their recruiters to disguise themselves as tourists to attempt to leave the country. I have ordered our immigration officers to conduct strict departure formalities to protect our fellow Filipinos from being victimized by unscrupulous individuals who only wish to earn at the expense of others,” he said
Immigration officers manning the airports were also directed to be "doubly strict in clearing foreigners to make sure that their visas and other travel documents are valid and genuine," after a number of foreigners were caught presenting bogus passports and visas.
Medina said that foreign syndicates might take advantage of the influx of tourists and attempt to sneak in illegal aliens pretending to be legitimate tourists.
Filipinos normally descend on cemeteries to visit their departed beloved on November 1, which falls on a Thursday. November 2, Friday, has also been declared a holiday.