David Angway (inset) is a registered financial planner.
PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
A financial planner behind the viral post from a Philippine immigration officer (IO) has called for accountability and audit of the Bureau of Immigration amid furor over “offloading” incidents at the country’s busiest airport.
The post, shared by financial planner David Angway, has been shared more than 16,000 times on Facebook, with many commenting about “unfair” practices of traveler screening at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). ALSO READ: Philippine IO reveals how fake travelers to Dubai are spotted
Speaking to Expatmedia.net, Angway pointed out that Philippine Immigration must have “accountability” when traveler screenings go wrong, while also putting balanced checks in place to spot and stop human trafficking.
“I feel that as a department that would like to protect Filipinos, all IOs within the Immigration [department] should remember that they must be bold with their decision but also not bully others,” Angway told Expatmedia.net.
He called for increasing the number of IOs with “competent decision-making skills” as well as stricter guidelines in cases when travelers are mistakenly “offloaded” from flights.
“The current chaos within NAIA is because of a lack of accountability. We hope that a higher authority can audit them and expose all those dark practices they have been doing,” Angway said.
Angway’s comments came after his viral post containing lengthy advice and insights from an IO on the issue of “offloading” and traveler checks at airports. The IO’s name was omitted for privacy.
The post came amid social media uproar over a Filipina tourist missing her flight after being asked “unreasonable” questions, including a demand to present her graduation yearbook, at the Philippine Immigration department at NAIA.
According to the Bureau of Immigration, offloaded travelers either have “inconsistencies” in their travel plan or don’t have enough supporting documents. However, affected travelers insist it is just immigration officers “playing God” in the screening process.
Barney Almazar of the UAE-based legal consultancy firm Gulf Law, told Expatmedia.net in a previous report that balance must be established when implementing the screening process for Filipino travelers.
“The right to travel is a constitutional right which a citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law and only on clear and compelling grounds of national security, public health and public safety,” Almazar said.
“What are the criteria used by Philippine immigration officers to determine if a traveler should be offloaded? Of course, if the passport or visa is fake, they can legally stop the traveler. But if the traveler is offloaded simply because he looks poor, most likely to overstay, or will find a job abroad (which is legally allowed in the UAE), these are not constitutional grounds to restrict free movement,” he told Expatmedia.net.
The Filipino lawyer said that personal bias should not have a place in the screening process. “If the traveler is a rich person, that does not mean that he will not look for a job opportunity abroad. So, effectively, the poor is prohibited to leave the country while the rich is not, while both hold the same tourist visa,” he added. ICA/Expat Media
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