By Ferdinand Patinio

NAIA (PNA file)

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday said it recently barred three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from leaving the country after presenting passports with altered visas.

According to the BI’s immigration protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES), the victims were intercepted at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City before they could board a Cebu Pacific Airlines flight to Dubai on June 10.

I-PROBES personnel, who interviewed the victims, said the three initially stated that they had been offered to work in Dubai as cleaners and provided employment documents to support their claim.

But upon inspection, it was confirmed that their United Arab Emirates (UAE) employment visas had been tampered with, suggesting potentially fraudulent activity.

Investigation also revealed that the victims were unaware of the tampered visas and were presumably misled by a single recruitment agency.

The case was later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.

Commissioner Norman Tansingco warned anew aspiring OFWs to be proactive and assertive in verifying the authenticity and accuracy of all documents presented by recruitment agencies or employers.

“Be wary of any agency or individual promising expedited or guaranteed visa processing, as this could be a red flag for potential fraud or exploitation,” he said. (PNA)