Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco warned the public of scammers offering immigration services on social media.
Tansingco issued the warning after Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) Chairperson Ka Kuen Chua testified during a Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee hearing that there are offers on social media that charge P1 million to P5 million to lift immigration blacklists.
“We have observed that this scam proliferates not only on Facebook, but also in other messaging platforms such as WeChat,” Tansingco said, adding that “there are even some accounts that pretend to be immigration lawyers and legal officers. They create profiles using photos of our employees, their badges, or even the logo of the bureau.”
A similar warning was issued by the BI in September last year when reports of fake employees offering illegal services surfaced on social media. “This is a recurring scam that pops up every now and then. We warn the public not to engage with these scammers. Remain keen to avoid being victimized,” he stated.
Tansingco advised the public to immediately report online scams to the Bureau of Immigration or other law enforcement agencies.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption meanwhile expressed its grave concern about the proliferation of online advertisements offering to lift immigration blacklists.
The VACC voiced its alarm because these illegal and unauthorized advertisements might lead people to believe that such services are indeed being offered by government agencies and this gives that impression that corruption is rife in government agencies.
VACC president Arsenio “Boy” Evangelista, Jr. noted that numerous similar scams have been reported in the past. Thus, he advised the public to refrain from entertaining such offers, and, instead, immediately report to authorities any attempt to illegally solicit payments in exchange for government services.
Evangelista added that he fully appreciates the capable and enlightened leadership of Immigration Commissioner Norman G. Tansingco, who is a proven veteran in the bureau where he has consistently worked for reforms and effective public service over the decades.
Relatedly, VACC also expressed its serious apprehension over the recent revelations that some foreign detainees at BI’s detention center have been conniving with unscrupulous lawyers and shady characters in abusing the country’s legal processes to prolong their stay in the country. It was revealed recently that specific cases have been unearthed where foreign detainees with criminal backgrounds have conspired with their lawyers to file “contrived cases” to allow them to stay in the country and avoid summary deportation to Japan to face prosecution for graver crimes. Through this deception, these foreign detainees have continued to direct their syndicates’ crime operations even while detained in the country.
Mr. Evangelista said that VACC will continue to closely coordinate with the Bureau of Immigration to ascertain that this vile abuse and corruption is effectively and conclusively addressed.
He added that the BI has remained highly cooperative in their mutual drive against corruption. The VACC remains relentless in helping ensure that all government agencies remain true to their bounden duty to eliminate crime and corruption, and provide honest and efficient public service.