BUREAU of Immigration (BI) agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 intercepted a departing Filipino passenger en route to Malta last November 11 for presenting a fake pre-departure certificate.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that the passenger was initially referred for secondary inspection for not possessing an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), despite acknowledging her intention to work in Malta.
The OEC is a document mandated by the Philippine government for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as it ensures their proper documentation and protection while working abroad.
Upon secondary inspection, it was revealed that the passenger was traveling to Malta to work as a live-in caregiver, and was holding documents, including a Commission on Filipinos Overseas-Guidance and Counselling Program (CFO-GCP) certificate that were provided by her Maltese employer.
The CFO-GCP is a required pre-departure seminar conducted for first-time Filipino migrants who are Filipino spouses, fiancé(e)s, and other partners of foreign nationals who plan to migrate overseas.
Tansingco then disclosed that the passenger eventually admitted to obtaining her documents from an internet acquaintance, including the fake CFO-GCP certificate. She confessed to not personally applying for the CFO-GCP and bypassing the mandatory counseling session.
The BI Chief further emphasized the disparity in requirements for departing OFWs and first-time migrants.
“Filipinos whose sole purpose of travel is to work overseas, are required to secure OECs from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW),” he stated.
Tansingco then reiterated that the processes departing Filipinos need to undergo are “to safeguard their well-being abroad.”
“This incident underscores the importance of exercising extreme caution when dealing with internet acquaintance. We encourage those seeking opportunities abroad to adhere to official channels and processes to avoid potential instances of human trafficking or illegal recruitment,” Tansingco added.