Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents intercepted eight Malaysia-bound workers posing as tourists at the Zamboanga International Seaport (ZIS).
The passengers, whose identities are being withheld for their protection, were attempting to board MV Antonia bound for Sandakan, Sabah, on November 13.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco disclosed that the victims initially presented themselves as individual tourists with varying reasons for travel, including purchasing welding machinery abroad, and visiting family and friends. However, upon secondary inspection, the passengers confessed to planning employment in a shipyard and an engineering firm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tansingco then emphasized that the case exposes the continued threat of human trafficking through seaports.
“The strengthened anti-trafficking measures, implemented not only in airports but also in seaports, show the government’s commitment to combat this illicit activity comprehensively,” he said.
Tansingco further urged aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to consult with authorized agencies to verify the legitimacy of job offers.
“Aspiring workers abroad must obtain the necessary clearances and approvals from relevant government agencies,” he said. “This includes verification of your employment contract, validation of your job offer, and securing overseas employment certificates from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW),” added Tansingco.
All eight passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.
BI nabs Japanese wanted for theft
Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 intercepted a Japanese national wanted in his home country for theft.
The Japanese man, identified as Saito Shimoeda, 25, was attempting to flee the country on a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Nagoya, Japan, on November 16.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco disclosed that upon detection of Shimoeda’s alert list order during departure formalities, he resorted to alarming tactics, intentionally bumping his head on the immigration counter and feigning distress.
The BI on-duty supervisor then confirmed that Shimoeda is a subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Tokyo Summary Court for being part of a large-scale telecom fraud group.
According to Tansingco, the suspect was said to be working as a fraudulent caller for a criminal group victimizing his compatriots while he is overseas. Records further revealed that Shimoeda entered the Philippines in 2019, and has since eluded arrest.
The arrested fugitive was placed in the blacklist and is now classified as an undesirable alien by Philippine immigration. He will be in the BI’s Warden Facility in Bicutan, Taguig pending implementation of his deportation.