In my mother’s hometown there is a neighborhood called Little Jeddah it is entirely composed of new houses built by money earned by its owners while working in Saudi Arabia. Then there is a certain town in Luzon well-known to a European embassy because a number of its citizens have working in said European country. Through out the world you will see a Filipino face. And once in Scotland a Filipino eating breakfast at a hotel was surprised when someone approached him and said,”Filipino ka ! Kabayan !”
The Bureau of Immigration have come up with a document called GUIDELINES ON DEPARTURE FORMALITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL- BOUND PASSENGERS IN ALL AIRPORTS AND SEAPORTS IN THE COUNTRY. Said documents details inspection procedures and protocols to follow when inpecting and interviewing Filipinos leaving the country. In said document it states that the Immigration official may deem it necessary to conduct a secondary inspection “for the purpose of protecting vulnerable victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment and other related offenses”. Through the assessment of age, educational attainment and financial capability.
For those travelling to countries that require visas this should not be a problem. If the same set of documents required for a visa would be required to be presented to Immigration. If however these would be different documents then it would be a unnecessary burden on the Citizens of the Philippine Republic.
For those travelling to countries that require no visas this could be a potential problem. Since, your departure or non- departure may hinge on your appearance and income. And in this day and age of budget travelling. Piso fare and couch surfing people travel on different budgets. So the Bureau of Immigration has to be careful in implementing this formalities.
Human trafficking and illegal recruitment is a difficult problem to solve and I sympathize with the burden the Government faces, but there must be ways to do this and not burden the tax-payers and citizens of the Philippines. There is a need to streamline the process so that a Filipino Citizen through a travel agemcy or on his own accomplish the necessary forms so that you just need to walk in and show the form to the immigration officer and be on your way. Something that eliminates the redundancies and repitions of the process. If the SEC has an express line and form, I do not see why the Bureau of Immigration cannot have one and even earn from it.
This problem with human trafficing and illegal recruitment also points to a larger problem of the Philippine Republic and that is poverty: let the prosperity trickle down and let the wealth be shared.
Excerpts of the Bureau of Immigration Guidelines on departure formalities.
GUIDELINES ON DEPARTURE FORMALITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL- BOUND PASSENGERS IN ALL AIRPORTS AND SEAPORTS IN THE COUNTRY
Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the “Anti- Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995”, as amended by Republic Act No. 10022 and other related laws, the following guidelines, providing for definite parameters in the strict enforcement of immigration departure formalities intended for the prevention of trafficking in persons, illegal recruitment, and other related offenses, are hereby promulgated for strict implementation/compliance by all concerned:
1. Primary Inspection
During primary inspection, the following documents shall be required from a traveler:
b) Visa when required c) Roundtrip Ticket
2. Secondary Inspection
2.1 The Bureau of Immigration shall conduct a secondary inspection of a traveler, when deemed necessary, for the purpose of protecting vulnerable victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment and other related offenses, through the assessment of the following circumstances:
b) Educational attainment
c)Financial capability to travel
i. If not financially capable to travel, an authenticated affidavit of support, indicating therein the relationship within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, together with the supporting documents, may be entertained; and
ii. An affidavit of undertaking/ guaranty may likewise be entertained.
2.2 Any passenger/traveler who will be subjected for secondary inspection shall be required to accomplish the Bureau of Immigration Border Control Questionnaire (BCQ) to be furnished by the Immigration Officer.