ALERT Philippine immigration officials have prevented 177 Indonesians bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from leaving the country after they were found to be posing as Filipinos by using forged Philippine passports.
According to a Bureau of Immigration (BI) officer, who asked not to be named, the Indonesians were among the 185 passengers who checked-in for the Medina, Saudi Arabia bound Philippine Airlines Flight PR8689 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. All of the passengers, of whom only eight are real Filipinos, claim they would attend Hajj pilgrimage.
The BI source said the Indonesians dressed up and poses like Filipinos when they lined up separately at BI booths and presented genuine Philippine passports for clearance.
Immigration officers discovered that the Indonesians were posing as Filipinos when they failed to respond to a Tagalog salutation. They also found out that none of the 177 Indonesians understand Tagalog.
This prompted the immigration officers to put all the passengers on hold including the eight Filipino citizens on that supposed flight.
The BI source said they could not establish human trafficking nor illegal recruitment but they are considering the case as national security.
Furthermore, the source said the BI as well as the National.Bureau of Investigation are now conducting a thorough investigation to identify the person/s involved in the fraudulently processed and issued Philippine passports to the 177 Indonesians, who reportedly arrived in Manila on separate dates only this week.
As of this posting, the BI-NAIA has yet to release the names of the 177 Indonesians.