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Dinaan sa ‘pastillas’! Immigration officers give VIP treatment to Chinese

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Chinese nationals are able to enter the Philippines without a hitch, thanks to immigration officers who accept money in exchange for looking the other way.

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday (February 17) bared the “pastillas” modus operandi at Philippine airports as the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality continued its hearing on the supposed link between prostitution and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

During the hearing, Hontiveros showed a video of an immigration officer escorting Chinese nationals to the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) office. The officer appeared to be checking the foreigners’ identities against his supervisor’s list.

“Bakit parang may VIP escort itong mga Chinese nationals papasok ng bansa? ‘Wag na ‘wag niyong lolokohin ang taumbayan. Hindi standard procedure ‘yan,” the senator said.

Hontiveros, the committee chair, said the video came from an informant within BI. The incident happened two weeks ago.

The senator said Chinese officials are able to enter the country without proper papers by giving BI officers money in the form of “pastillas.”

“Tinanong ko bakit pastillas ang tawag. Dati daw kasi, wala pang mga sobre so nilalagay sa bond paper at niro-rolyo na parang pastillas. Ngayon, mas professional na: may sobre parang legit na pasuweldo, may bonus pag perfect attendance, at may pa-lunch pa mula sa mga Chinese,” Hontiveros said.

Based on information from her informants, the senator said BI officers charge P10,000 for every Chinese national who enters the country. Of this amount, only P2,000 is remitted to the airport immigration.

“Nasaan na yung P8,000? Ayon sa aming informant, distributed na, bago pa man makarating sa airport: sa Chinese tour operator, sa ka-kontratang local tour operator, at sa sindikatong magda-downstream sa airport,” she said.

Hontiveros said around P1 billion may have already been given to corrupt officials as kickbacks through the “pastillas” system.

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