Photo Release

August 30, 2023

Review IACAT guidelines: Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, during Wednesday’s plenary session August 30, 2023, says there is a need to review the new set of guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Council Against Traffficking for international-bound Filipino passengers, citing a Filipino traveler who was unable to board her flight to Israel due to a lengthy interview at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) counter and for allegedly being unable to present her yearbook. Villanueva said the traveler has to shell out P27,000 for a new ticket to rebook her flight. “There is something wrong with the process and it is only right that we review our programs to ensure that we are truly upholding our sworn duty to protect our people,” Villanueva said in his manifestation. The majority leader also cited a data from the BI showing that last year, out of the 32,404 Filipinos whose departure was deferred, only 472 or 1.46 percent were found to be victims of human trafficking. “We understand that the IACAT’s intent in the issuance of the guidelines is to mitigate trafficking. But imagine the possibility of offloading 98.54 percent of Filipinos? Hindi po ito (this is not a) ‘margin of error,’” he added. (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)