Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan has hailed immigration personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for a job well done in the arrest and detention of a foreigner suspected of being involved in human trafficking.
At the same time, Marcelino C. Libanan warned Tuesday that international human trafficking syndicates â€œare wanting to get back to business in using Manila as [a] transit point [for their] entry to other destinations.â€
The BI arrested last April 26 Peter Lucky, identified as a citizen of Botswana, for possession of spurious and fake travel documents at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 2 where he was to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Vancouver.
â€œThe international human trafficking syndicates want to get back to business in using Manila as transit point in the entry to other destinations,â€ Libanan said, adding that the syndicates are testing if the BI has put down its guard against their illegal activities.
The African was kicked out of the country a few hours after his arrest. He was sent back to Kuala Lumpur. He is now in the black list of undesirable aliens and can not re-enter the Philippines.
Libanan said the Philippines was at one time a favorite transit point for international human trafficking operations. But determination in instituting reforms in the operations of the BI at the NAIA put a stop to that, Libanan said.
Libanan said the BI has three layers of controls at the departure area, describing the system as single flow but counter-checking. â€œThe system has worked in putting a stop to the use of NAIA in the human smuggling to the US and Canada and other countries,â€ he added.
NAIA-BI officials said Lucky arrived at the old NAIA terminal as a transit passenger from Malaysia the day before he was apprehended.
He was at the departure area of the NAIA 2 terminal when accosted by members of the BIâ€™s migration compliance and monitoring group (MCMG).
When questioned, Lucky, who claimed that he was a student in Malaysia, presented his Botswana passport, which turned out to be tampered and contained fake immigration arrival stamps.
He also could not explain why he was going to Canada, which made the immigration officers more suspicious and doubtful of the purpose of his trip.
Officials also said that although Lucky had a plane ticket for Vancouver, which he got in Malaysia, he still bought a new one from PAL that indicated a return trip to Manila.
Libanan said the Philippines has been a favorite transit point for international human trafficking operations.
But he stressed that they have instituted reforms that have helped â€œin human smuggling to the US and Canada and other countries.â€