An Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) revealed the alleged modus operandi of some Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel in trafficking Filipinos to Syria in exchange for P50,000.

A certain “Alice” made a video testimony in front of the Senate. She was presented by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

According to Alice, her recruiter promised a job in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. However, after her layover in Malaysia, the OFW found out that she will be taken to Syria.

Alice also said that her recruiter identified only as Ana paid P50,000 to a BI personnel to fetch her and other women at the Immigration counter 1 at the airport.

“Naririnig ko … ‘Magbayad muna si Ana sa immigration bago palusutin ang mga tao ninyo.’ … [Ang bayad] bawat isa ay P50,000,” Alice confessed.

“Iba pa sasalubong sa gate, iba pa yung line number 1 … babae ‘yung nasa counter 1. Iba sumalubong sa ‘kin pagkatapos ko sa gate, counter 1, and then hanggang makarating ng eroplano, meron din,” said Alice.

The payment was done at Rizal Park in Manila. The transaction was between the recruiter and the BI personnel.

After they arrived in Syria, another personnel from their recruitment agency assisted them and they were imprisoned. Their mobile phones were also taken from them.

After 12 days, a Syrian national bought her for US$1,000. According to Alice, her employer will be one of the relatives of the President of Syria. The female employer even has bodyguards.

“Five months ko dito nakaranas ako ng pananakit kasi nagpaalam ako na uuwi ako kaya nagalit sila. Sinaktan ako saka ‘yung mga pangalawa, 2020, sinaktan ulit ako dahil nabasa nila mga email ko, kinuha nila kasi tumatawag embassy sa kanila na humihingi ako ng tulong,” says Alice.

“Hinahawakan, tinatadyakan, sampal, sabunot, kaladlad.. ng bodyguard,” Alice continued to confess.

The monthly salary of Alice was supposed to be USD400. But she only gets half of it.

According to Hontiveros, Alice experienced slave-like treatment because she is forced to work from 10 in the morning until 3 in the morning.

“Hindi ito employment, ito ay slavery. One thousand US dollars, so kung may P50,000 na ibinayad sa ating sariling BI, may US$1,000 dollars, katumbas ng P50,000 pesos ulit na binayad ng amo para ibili sila na parang alipin,” says Hontiveros.

Hontiveros said that she will get the names of the Immigration officers because they breached the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

“Malaki-laki ang penalty dito at non-bailable. This is a case of large-scale trafficking, and trafficking in syndicate. Life imprisonment ang parusa dito,” says Hontiveros.

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente supports the investigation of the Senate towards the trafficking of Filipinos to Syria.

“This investigation is another step towards eradicating human trafficking from our country by finding its root cause, as well as cutting down any growth that may have emerged from this societal weed,”

Those who will be found guilty will have to face the consequences of their action.

“The Bureau has been constantly fighting the battle against trafficking for more than a decade, when we initially implemented strict departure formalities for Filipino citizens,” the BI Commissioner confirmed.

Source GMA News

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