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Immigration / airport immigration staff

1 Philippines

To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter to file a complaint against 3 of the immigration officers of Iloilo International Airport who held our passports and off-loaded us, me and a colleague of mine from our flight bound to Singapore last July 13, 2015. We are supposed to fly aboard Cebu Pacific flight 5J 255, 10:40 PM last Monday, July 13. My colleague, Mary Beb Borra was interviewed first and asked some basic questions, like the reason of her travel and for how long. The official who interviewed her was lady on the first counter on the right. She’s approximately 5’1’ in height, fair-skinned and with dyed light blonde hair. The one who interviewed me was a 5’2’ in height, slightly fair-skinned gay guy at the first counter on the left-most side of the immigration area. Both officers endorsed us for further interrogation which I find a little off as we have provided the necessary documents for our travel. The last officer we had a talk with was a 6-foot tall, Arab-looking man wearing glasses. He took our passports and our company ID. He asked how long have we been working on our respective establishments and why are we travelling together since we work in a different restaurants. I told him that Mary Beb and I were close friends back in college and both came from the same class in West Visayas State University. I can’t even fathom the fact that the officials made a little sarcastic side comment of us graduating from that university. I find it childish and unprofessional!

Knowing that both of us is working in a restaurant as managers, he then looked for a sanitary permit and a sealed certificate of employment. We provided only a drafted COE to which he declined because it was not sealed. I told him that our company will not issue us a sealed COE as it is only given to employees who have already resigned. We are still working with our company and are only on leave for four days, so the said document will be unlikely issued to us. He then diverted back to the sanitary permit. He said that we will be off-loaded due to incomplete documents if we can’t provide an original copy of our establishment’s sanitary permit. I was taken aback by what he said. I mean he’s asking a document from us that should only be present in the restaurant as required by the city government. I should have made it clear to him that I am a travelling individual and not a travelling restaurant. He should have said right in our face that he doesn’t want us to travel because he just feel so, and not give us reasons that only a 5-year-old kid would buy. We are professionals just like him and we did not like the way that we have been treated.

We worked hard just to buy a plane ticket and give ourselves a break. We even have a hotel booking for Christ’s sake! I was disappointed of myself, I was supposed to make a scene, but dealt with the officer professionally. He made it look so easy to trash our months of preparation for our trip. We have been stripped off of our right to travel, a constitutionally protected right! That officer should review the Philippine constitution, which clearly state that “the right to travel means that if there’s any doubt if a citizen can travel or not, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the citizen.” Meaning, the right is protected, not in an ordinary bill. But in the constitution itself! We have provided all proof and cleared out doubts, doubts that those officers kept on incrementing. We wish for this issue not be taken lightly as we are not the only victims who went through the same agony of being questioned and held wrongly.I went to the immigration office in Mulley Loney yesterday and spoke with their head officer Mr. Emir. I laid my complaint and told him about what had happen. Even him was keen to point that we should have been allowed to travel. He even gave a list of the documents we should carry for us to be allowed to travel. It’s ironic because I have all thosedocuments and here I am, an off-loaded flyer.

I hope you will take time to pose a disciplinary action so as to avoid repeat cases. I am very much willing to pin-point the officers described above given the chance.


Mary Joy Casumpang

Jul 17, 2015

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