By Benjamin Lim Vergara
IMMIGRATION authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport foiled an attempt by a foreign national to use the Philippines as jump-off point to Canada, it was reported today.
Abdul Wahab Issah, 36, was apprehended at the NAIA terminal 2 on October 21 after officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) discovered a fake Canadian visa on his passport.
BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said Issah has a scheduled flight to Toronto but was immediately collared after immigration officers noticed the bogus Canadian visa.
Issah, who is now detained awaiting deportation proceedings, later admitted that he bought the fake visa it for US$6,000 from a fraud syndicate in his country.
Consequently, Medina instructed all immigration officers nationwide to increase their vigilance in monitoring foreign travelers to ensure that syndicates will be unable to take advantage of the coming holidays to smuggle aliens in and out of the country.
Recently, the bureau has reshuffled some 200 members of the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) at all international airports including the NAIA. The move was one of the numerous changes aimed to prevent fraternization, which has been pinpointed as a major source of corruption in government agencies.
The TCEU is a special team of immigration officers whose task is to conduct secondary inspection of arriving and departing international passengers especially arriving foreigners who have doubtful purpose in entering the country and departing Filipino tourists who may be victimized by human traffickers and illegal recruiters.