By Gavin Gibbon
Investigation will start in Malaysia and Indonesia but will also focus on areas of the Middle East
Authorities in the Philippines are to investigate Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials and personnel over alleged human trafficking activities.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to launch the probe after “reports of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) headed for Kuwait and other restricted places in the Middle East but would transit first in Malaysia or Indonesia, allegedly in connivance with unscrupulous Bureau of Immigration personnel”.
The temporary ban on OFW deployment to Kuwait was prompted by the death of household worker Jeanelyn Villavende at her employers' hands.
The ban has since been partially lifted but remains in force for newly-hired household service workers.
According to a report by the Philippines News Agency, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval, said: “As of mid-2019, we have dismissed from service and suspended more than 60 personnel for various offenses. We will not hesitate to impose harsh penalties on others who are found to be committing such acts. Violators will face both administrative and criminal cases. This will serve as a warning to all who still attempt to conduct corrupt practices in the Bureau.”