By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

BACK HOME. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo José de Vega receives the eight online job scam victims from Cambodia at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Saturday (Feb. 25, 2023). The public is warned against online job offers that are too good to be true. (DFA photo)

MANILA— Eight Filipinos deceived into working for an online scamming and catfishing (creating fake identity) syndicate in Cambodia were repatriated to Manila on Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The DFA said they were rescued by the Cambodian National Police in Oddar Meanchey and Kampot provinces and investigated by the Anti-Cyber Crime Unit before they were turned over to the General Department of Immigration.

In coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh, the DFA provided welfare assistance and arranged for the expedited investigation and eventual release of the Filipinos.

“Human trafficking in Southeast Asia is a serious regional issue, and the DFA is exerting efforts to ensure the safety of Filipinos wherever they are,” DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo Jose de Vega said in a statement on Sunday.

“We will continue to engage with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states and international partners to clamp down on this abhorrent activity,” he added.

The DFA reiterated that tourists cannot work in Cambodia without a valid work permit, and customer service agent jobs in Southeast Asia are “usually bogus”.

The DFA also warned the public against online job offers that are too good to be true.

“Jobseekers should apply only through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or licensed recruitment agencies,” it said. (PNA)