Filipinos are urged to exercise extreme caution in the face of the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, as four individuals who fell victim to illegal recruitment sought repatriation back to the Philippines.
The victims, whose names are withheld for their protection, arrived in Manila from Yangon, Myanmar on November 21.
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According to the accounts provided by the four passengers, they were unable to obtain proper working visas and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) registration during their time in Laukkai, Myanmar.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco disclosed that all four passengers initially left the country in the guise of being tourists but were later on recruited by their foreigner acquaintances to fly to Myanmar to work in different job positions.
According to Tansingco, two of the victims were recruited through a job posting on Facebook as Customer Service Representatives in Myanmar.
“Upon arriving, they were coerced into engaging in online scamming activities for an undisclosed Chinese company. These individuals were subjected to physical abuse and poor working conditions,” the BI chief said.
Tansingco also expressed deep concern over these incidents, stressing the importance of heightened vigilance during the present situation in Myanmar.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has classified Myanmar’s conflict to be at Crisis Alert Level 2, also known as the Restricted Phase. This means that only documented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are allowed to travel to Myanmar, with stringent protocols and safeguards in place,” he said.
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