Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and tourist visa holders to report instances of extortion by officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“I dare you to report to us any cases of extortion, and then and there we will arrest the suspect,” the Vice President said.
According to Gulf News, the Vice President issued the plea during a public forum with the Filipino community on his official visit to Abu Dhabi.
Binay is the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns and Chairman Emeritus of the inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
“We suspended a lot of immigration officials who had been caught extorting money from passengers about four months ago. They had all been replaced,” Binay said.
According to the Bureau of Immigration, 60 percent of the 264 immigration posts at NAIA Terminal 1 are new hires and the bureau is currently recruiting more.
In January 2012, IACAT introduced new offloading guidelines for all international-bound Filipino passengers to help curb human trafficking.
The guidelines were set following complaints from passengers of a lack of clear departure formalities, resulting in many passengers being barred from leaving the country.
With the new guidelines in place, some passengers complained about immigration officials asking bribes from passengers just so they could be allowed to board their flights.
In the one-hour forum, Binay also addressed other issues concerning the welfare, social security, and financial wellbeing of OFWs.
The Vice President flew to Abu Dhabi to represent President Benigno Aquino III at the World Future Energy Summit. He also attended the International Water Summit and the Zayed Future Energy Prize Awarding Ceremony.
During his official visit, Binay also paid a courtesy call to General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.