Filipino tourists continue to struggle with corrupt Philippine immigration

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I woke up this morning to this news from The National: Tourists heading for UAE fleeced in immigration scam

It’s time we AGAIN highlight the dirty, ugly things going on at the Philippine airports. The blog post I wrote almost two years ago regarding the new rule for Filipinos traveling to Dubai still gets a lot of hits from Google search and has over 300 comments. The blog post discusses the so called “Affidavit of Support” (AOS) introduced by the Philippine government for Filipino tourist visa holders to supposedly “protect” them from human trafficking.

But what has happened to the original intention “to protect”?

According to the article in The National:

Filipinos coming to the UAE on tourist visas are being hit for cash by corrupt immigration officers in return for permission to leave the country.

Maria Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration in Manila, said: “Why do they have to pay in the first place? We don’t sit easily with complaints like these.

“Please give us names. If they have allegations, we can’t act on them unless they identify the immigration officers.”

Allegations!? Don’t the airport have security cameras around? Surely anybody can trace all movements around the airport for suspicious activities! And it’s not like this is a rare hush-hush scene. The people extorting money from tourist visa holders are not exactly discreet.

You ask: Why pay in the first place? Because if it is the only way to escape the FBI-like interrogation and the only way to get that chance of a better future, the people are left without any choice. As far as I know, everyone has the right to travel (blocking that right is unconstitutional and only if the person is in the criminal list) and when and where else is it required that a tourist has to have a relative in the country of destination? (one of the requirements to exit the Philippines is that you should have a relative sponsoring you in Dubai/UAE)

I am appalled at how Ms. Spokeswoman is playing blind and deaf. People are desperate to leave the country to find a better life Ms. Mangrobang. Why don’t you take time out of your busy schedule to actually be present inside the airport to see the situation? It is not hard to see the truth happening right under your nose if you are willing to open your eyes.

Ms. Spokeswoman, I urge you to read this article from The National, published in March 20, 2011 wherein the Philippine Vice President reports on allegations of bribery at Manila airport to extort cash from Filipinos bound for the UAE. So you don’t ask like you’re surprised to hear this “allegations” – it’s been an ongoing problem for the past two years at least.

Looking through the comments in my blog post left by distraught Filipino travelers looking for answers and seeking support from one another. Some of them disclosed that they paid their way out because despite having proper documents people are still unjustly ‘offloaded’.

It is disgusting to note that a system made and implemented to ‘protect’ is becoming a profit generating scheme for the privileged few sitting at the Philippine airports.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The so called “Affidavit of Support” is NOT required by the immigration authorities at the UAE airports.

13 thoughts on “Filipino tourists continue to struggle with corrupt Philippine immigration

  1. Yes, this is still on-going. Easy for these extorting staff, since the CCTV system in NAIA airports are mediocre and they do not wear or hide their name badges. Proof? Ramona Bautista, how did she leave amidst the controversy? And of course, the Barreto-Santiago-Tulfo showdown..where are the actual CCTV clips? Nada.

    When I was taking an AOS for my mother, the girl before me was telling how her 3 siblings paid PHP 10K each to avoid getting off-loaded. This was very sickening to hear!

    On the other hand, some get to go without AOS, like my friend’s sister. She really did not have that document with her at all as my friend was so busy she did not have the time to apply for an AOS for her sibling. No bribes whatsoever given either, as she was just really visiting plus she’s got the looks and the excitement of a tourist. Whereas others are obviously edgy, making them easy targets.


  2. I just wonder why the requirements of both country wont exactly the same, at UAE they ask for Visa only they don’t even ask for return ticket,OAS or OEC. While in our country (Philippine Immigration) they ask for that requirments,ok let say “THATS A REQUIREMENTS”… can you please give us exact list and link where to go for that requirement so we wont confuse and don’t waste money for re booking..Because on my own experience I received the documents from my cousin (of course from travel agency) with plane ticket with schedule so i think that’s all, its my first time and my cousin too.. just to find out that my cousin need to provide OEC, so I’m offloaded..maybe in this part our government need to stand up and watch, I ask for my cousin to provide OEC and i got negative respond i don’t know why but its clearly that i can’t provide that requirement, I nearly cry coz to think that I pawned our lot and if i can’t make it how to redeem that just waste it? so one of my co-passenger told me that certain “lyn” can help us just gave 25,000peso, i dont have choice but to deal with devil just to save the only property that i have…25k that supposed my starting kit to find job there..


  3. hello miss AOS need for authentication?because may AOS is not authenticated..i was sponsored by my auntie.And her OEC is already it ok to attach her oec to my AOS knowing that her oec is help me…flight ko na po ng October 7..please give me sa=ome advice..thankyou in advance…


  4. Mariel, how can you have AOS which is not authenticated? Your AOS should have the red ribbon which is considered proof of authentication. For your aunt’s OEC, it doesn’t matter if it expired or not because it is actually a document to show that she is a documented OFW, to be presented only during travel out from Philippines. To be sure that you can pass immigration without too much hassle, you should have your aunt’s birth certificate as a proof of relation, photos showing you and your aunt together and certificate of income of your aunt. Sounds too much but it will help you. Just don’t get nervous in front of the officers, they will screw you like hell. Take it as advise from OFW who was offloaded twice! Good luck!


    • hello miss sharla..thanks for your advice..i already have the birth certificates of my auntie,,me and my mom 🙂 regarding with my AOS yes its not authenticated and my aunt’s signature is only there,,no red ribbon and gold seal.. 😦


  5. Good day, isa po akong nurse dto sa Oman,plano ko sana papuntahin ang girlfriend ko d2 gamit ang tourist visa. Off loading sa pinas ang iniisip k na problema. Hindi ko kasi alam kng anu mga hnahnap ng immigration officer ntin. Magkanu ba ang dapat na mgng show money ng girlfriend ko pra mkalusot? Or pwd ba na walang show money,pero my guarantee letter naman galing sakin at sa isa ko pa kaworkmate na babae. Sana po iguide nyo ako kung anu dapat ko gawin para hindi nmn sayang sa effort at pera.


  6. Hi Grace. ask ko lang kung kailangan ba kumuha muna ng tourist visa bago maka file ng affidavit of support from the consulate?? Ang sa akin kasi andon ngayon ang barko ng husband ko, nakadaong sa U.A.E hanggang april sila don. Pwede ba na husband ko nalang ang kumuha ng affidavit of support??yong husband ko wala silang visa sa dubai kasi sa cruise ship sya nagwo work. Ano dapat ko gawin.? Pwede ba na ipakita ko nalang contract ng husband ko tas yong itenirary nila??


  7. hi ms grace, my sister and i were planning to go to dubai this year, june ang target nmin na month, mag spo-sponsor sa amin tito ng boyfriend ko, ang sister ko nsa dubai na ngaun, matatapos na kc contract nia and uuwi xa sa april. so babalik kami sa june, pro sa mga nabasa ko d2 sa site nio parang nag aalangan na tuloy akong tumuloy! parang nakaka trauma tlga pinag daanan nla.


  8. Yan talaga ang nangyayari…. Di rin ako makapaniwala kasi ako mismo ang tumawag dun the eescort… Pesos 20000-26500 ang hinihingi nila per head….


  9. Correct un mg suggestion ng karamihan,matagal ng ganyan ang nangyayari s lahat ng airport,im an immig officer at nakita ko mismo ang lungkot at sama ng loob n inaabot ng ating mga kbabayan.kaso wla kami magawa dahil ang lahat ng ito ay utos ng mga opisyal gobyerno at mismo c pnoy ang nag utos s DOJ para kami mismo ay bantayan ng grupong binuo nla,kya kahit gusto nmin payagan makaalis ang pasahero binubunot din nla pagdating s x ray area o minsan s boarding gate na,ang payo ko lng s lahat maging totoo k lng at wag maging tameme kapag duman n kyo s interview,matutong ipaglaban ang karapatan bumyahe para ndi kyo ma offload


    • hi denz,

      sana ma tyempuhan kita sa airport. at syo nalng ako pipila… atleast kahit panu naiintindihan mo ung sentiments ng mga na o-offload… plan ko kc mag visit visa sa this coming april… sana matulungan mo ako…at nang ndi naman ako mahirapan…


  10. Hi po!

    First, thanks po sa info kc nkaka tulong po talaga. First timer ko po to travel abroad papuntang uae using vist visa and i must say na nkakalungkot at nakakahiya ang mga ganitong system ng bansa nten.

    My ticket and visa are being processed by an agency galing mismo sa uae. Same agency ng pinsan ko na nagwowork na dun ngayon. Ma ququestion pa rn po b to?

    Dahil n rn po s issue ng offloading ayaw n po akong ipadaan ng ate ko s immigration nten. So the plan is for me to travel first sa thailand as tourist then from there tsaka ako mag boboard ng flight papuntang uae What can you say about this?pls advise.
    Lahat ng tickets. Hotels and service ko po will be arranged by the agency. Magkaka problem pa po kaya kung sa thailand ako manggagaling?

    Thanks in advance!


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