By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday reminded Filipinos, especially would-be overseas workers or those who are meeting their foreign spouses abroad, not to entertain unscrupulous individuals offering bogus pre-departure documents for their own safety.
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said those who are looking to work abroad or would like to live with their foreign partners should follow the legal process for their own good.
She issued the reminder after several Filipino women were recently intercepted for having fake travel documents including Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP) certificate from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
“Last week we had intercepted two victims and just yesterday, two more victims were intercepted at the Clark International Airport bound for Australia and the other one was at the Cebu International Airport, the victim is bound for the British Virgin Islands,” she said at the Laging Handa briefing.
“So, it’s obvious that they are trying to use different airports so that these victims can leave,” she added.
During the interview with one of the victims, Sandoval said she claimed paying PHP8,000 for the actual certificate and another PHP4,000 for the assistance since her requirements to obtain such a document are not complete.
She reported that the victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, who will assist them in filing cases against the scammers.
The BI official added that the proper government offices where they can secure an authentic GCP certificate from CFO and legitimate job offers abroad from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
“They have to go directly to the website of CFO which is cfo.gov.ph, where they can apply and set a schedule to secure this certificate. It’s for our countrymen who would be going abroad to see their foreign spouse, to meet or marry their foreign partner or foreign spouse,” she said.
“If they are planning to work there. They need to go through the Department of Migrant Workers which has a list of accredited agencies that offer legitimate jobs so that we can ensure the safety of our countrymen,” the Immigration official added.
Sandoval also noted that Filipinos who were able to enter another country illegally, will not be protected by the Philippines as well as the nation they are currently in.
“These modus operandi that use fake documents to leave the country to work outside the country are not allowed. And it’s not just because the government doesn’t allow it, it’s really to the disadvantage of our compatriots who will work abroad because they don’t get the support, supposedly, of the government; they don’t get the protection of the government if they go out of the country, illegally,” Sandoval said.
“Always go through the legal means through the Department of Migrant Workers. Let’s not be fooled by these fixers, by scammers. Let’s protect ourselves,” she added. (PNA)