OFFLOADING POLICY

“There is no “OFFLOADING POLICY,” said Bureau of Immigration

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Maraming Pilipino ang nao-offload tuwing pupunta sa ibang bansa gaya dito sa Thailand? Ang iba sa kanila ay ipinangutang pa ang pamasahe para sa pambili ng ticket papuntang Bangkok tapos guguho lang ang pangarap pag na deny sa immigration.

Napapatanong tuloy ang marami sa atin kung ang pag offload ba ay patakaran ng ating immigration at ano ba ang basehan nila para paalisin o i-deny ang isang tao na gustong pumunta sa ibang bansa?

Sabi ng ating Philippine Immigration, wala raw OFFLOADING POLICY sa Pilipinas. Gaano ito katotoo? Basahin ang kanilang statement sa ibaba na matatagpuan din sa kanilang website.

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The Bureau of Immigration recently clarified issues surrounding its strict implementation of departure formalities to Filipinos bound for international destinations, following several reactions that several Filipinos get offloaded for no apparent reason in international airports.

BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison said the Bureau and Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT) has come up with a set of clear-cut rules under the Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International Bound Passengers approved by the Department of Justice. The said Guidelines were formulated by a technical working group pursuant to RA 9208 or the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and are in effect since January 2012.

“Offloading is not a policy but a consequence of the implementation of the Guidelines,” Mison said.

Under the guidelines, travelers are categorized according to purpose, whether tourist, OFWs, Immigrants, etc. Requirements to be asked from travelers are also based on their respective purposes.

Tourists must prove their financial capability for the trip, present proof of work or support in the Philippines, or submit an affidavit of support if they are visiting relatives overseas, to prevent being offloaded from flights.

Filipinos with legal work visas and overseas employment certificates are required to present these documents when leaving the country.

Mison warned against a common practice of leaving the country in the guise of a tourist and essentially working for an employer upon reaching the country of destination. He stressed that these undocumented Filipinos are more prone to abuse in other countries.

 “Since they already invested so much for their trip, they will not go home empty handed, making them more susceptible to trafficking,” Mison said.

He explained that the implementation of the said Guidelines contributed to a decline in the incidents of human trafficking and illegal recruitment. As a matter of fact, the Philippines has been elevated to Tier 2 status in the US Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

Citizens with tourist visas are the focus of the stipulations, for most illegal workers come from this demographic.

He said some possible tourist worker profiles include:

First-time travelers who are going to destinations that are not popular among tourists,

Tourists with no steady source of income in the Philippines and no benefactors. While other red flags exist, the BI clarified that they “assess the totality of the circumstances” to determine the passenger’s true intent.

Mison appealed for understanding from Filipino travelers who may be inconvenienced by the guidelines, saying these are for the protection of citizens against human trafficking.

“We don’t offload people just because we want to. It’s a bitter pill that we have to swallow because we want to protect our fellow Filipinos.” Mison said. “Under our BI C.A.R.E.S (Courtesy-Accountability-Responsibility-Efficiency-Service) Program, we want our countrymen to understand that there is no reason to fear us, in fact, they can ask us for advice on how to legitimize their travel and we will be happy to help,” he added.

Immigration Officer Dennis Opiña, assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, said several Filipinos get offloaded for various reasons.

Opina said most of these passengers are bound for Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Bangkok, which are considered transit points accounting for high incidents of human trafficking.

He said Dubai is the most common destination of Filipinos who want to illegally work overseas.

The immigration officer said “inconsistencies” in the travel plan may result in a Filipino traveler being offloaded.

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Marami akong nababasa sa iba’t ibang grupo ng mga Pinoy dito sa Thailand ng mga taong na-offload. May mga iba’t ibang mungkahi ang ating mga kababayan na nandito sa Thailand kung paano malulusutan ang napakahigpit na officers sa ating paliparang pandaigdig tulad na lamang ng pagiging firm sa mga sagot sa officer, pagkakaroon ng hotel booking, pocket money, at kung ano ano pa.

Ang mga mungkahi ng ating mga kababayan ay totoong makakatulong. Kung ikaw ay nagbabalak na pumunta sa ibang bansa, nararapat din na alamin mo bilang isang Pilipino ang karapatan mong mag travel.

Citizens right to travel is guaranteed by Section 6, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. Sabi nga doon, “Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.” 

Hindi man ako abugado at di man ako maalam sa mga batas na meron tayo kasi English ang sulat (haha), papanindigan ko ang aking karapatan na umalis.

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