Authorities in the Philippines have issued a new advisory, warning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) against fake immigration officers promising swift departure from the country in exchange for money.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Chief Jaime Morente said that they have already sought assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in going after these fixers pretending to be airport officials.
In a statement, he said that the new modus was discovered after they received a complaint from a Filipino worker bound for Dubai using a tourist visa last December. He said that a fake immigration officer offered the OFW help and escorted her for a fee.
The fake immigration officer claimed that he works for the BI at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and had the capacity to send the OFW to Dubai hassle-free.
The OFW bound for Dubai gave P7,000 to the officer and P28,000 through bank transfer. She later then sent another P39,500. The total amount she sent was P75,000.
She attempted to depart, however, he was intercepted again.
“The victim tried to ask for her money back from the suspect, but he made excuses about it,” Morente said.
The officer said that the suspect identified himself as ‘James’ and confirmed that he was not working in the government agency.
“I am unable to disclose the details of the fixer, but we received intelligence information yesterday about him. We already have his identity. I have instructed our Travel Control and Enforcement Unity and Intelligence Division to coordinate with the NBI and ensure that this person faces the harshest penalties of the law,” he added.