Immigration officers in all the international airports and seaports nationwide have been ordered to strictly implement the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait which President Rodrigo Duterte ordered in reaction to the reported deaths and abuse of several Filipinos in the emirate.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente, in a press release on Feb. 13, said he already directed Marc Red Mariñas, the bureau’s port operations division chief, on Monday to immediately enforce the ban and conduct stricter immigration formalities on all departing passengers.
Morente said rigid inspection of all departing Filipino passengers is necessary to thwart any attempts by illegal recruiters to circumvent the ban and facilitate the exit of Kuwaiti-bound OFWs through the notorious escort racket at the airport.
“We shall implement this deployment ban to the letter and immigration personnel who connive with the escort syndicates will be dealt with severely,” Morente warned.
He urged the public not to hesitate in reporting to his office any BI personnel involved in such nefarious activities.
Mariñas said he has directed Julius Caesar Feria, head of the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU), to instruct his men in all the ports to be doubly vigilant in assessing and monitoring departing passengers.
“I also issued a stern warning to immigration officers in all the ports that anyone who engages in the escort racket will be suspended and eventually dismissed from the service for gross misconduct,” Mariñas added.
Mariñas clarified that in the absence of any directive to the contrary, the “Balik Manggagawa” or returning OFWs to Kuwait are likewise covered by the ban.
“All Immigration Officers had been directed to prevent the departure of all OFWs bound for Kuwait.” Mariñas said. (BI PR)