The Bureau of Immigration (BI) \cautioned the travelling public against the circulation of fake Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP) certificates sold by scammers.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco issued the warning following the interception of two departing Filipinas carrying fake GCP certificates at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The GCP is a required pre-departure seminar conducted by the CFO aiming to equip Filipinos in intermarriages and bi-national relationships with adequate information on the realities of cultural and social realities overseas.
The certificates purport to show that holders have attended the GCP and therefore can leave for abroad.
The passengers, who attempted to leave the country in two separate occasions, were intercepted by primary inspectors after suspecting the authenticity of the documents they presented. They were also unable to present the official digital copy of the certificate supposedly issued by the CFO.
One victim, who was supposed to leave the country last April 30 with her Indian boyfriend, disclosed that she acquired the fake certificate from a stranger who approached her near the CFO office for a fee of P2,000.
The other victim, a girlfriend of a Hong Kong national who attempted to depart last May 3, allegedly employed the help of a certain Ana she met online, to whom she paid P5,000 for the fake CFO certificate.
The CFO officer stationed at the airport then confirmed that the GCP certificates were fraudulent.
Tansingco then explained the importance of the GCP in countering human trafficking.
“The government imposed the pre-departure counseling services to deter trafficking in the guise of marriage and the mail-order bride scheme. This is also to ensure that migrating Filipinos know their available support network abroad in times of distress,” he said. “Always verify the legitimacy of your transactions with authorized CFO agents only,” the BI Chief added.
The women were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT)
for further investigation.
Catherine R. Cueto