FEBRUARY 17, 2020 – An opposition senator on Monday exposed bribery of local immigration officials with cash, referred as “pastillas” to gain smooth entry at Manila’s gateways.
At the resumption of a congressional inquiry into illegal activities related to Chinese-controlled offshore gaming operation, Senator Risa Hontiveros uncovered highly irregular activities involving high-level immigration officials who allowed the seamless entry of Chinese nationals in exchange for a fee of 10,000 pesos.
Hontiveros said the the payment of “service fee” known as “pastillas” is centralized to get Chinese gaming workers get past immigration screening without any hitch.
Most of these workers are entering the country on tourist visas and without proper working permits, which are tedious to obtain as well as expensive.
“Pastillas” allegedly referred to the cash distributions within the agency, she said.
Hontiveros also played a video showing an immigration officer escorting Chinese nationals to their inner office, seemingly validating their identity against a list with a supervisor.
The video came from an informant who went to her office.
There were also screenshots of messages in Viber groups containing the names, flight details, and even photos of Chinese nationals.
“Huwag niyong lolokohin ang mamamayan, hindi po standard procedure ‘yan,” she said. “Bakit parang may VIP escort pa itong mga Chinese nationals na papasok sa ating bansa?
“Yung mga Pilipino nga hirap hirap na makapunta sa ibang bansa,” she said. “Pinapahirapan sa mga Immigration pero ang sa atin parang karinderyang bukas sa lahat.”
Hontiveros has estimated that around a billion pesos may have already been disbursed as kickbacks to corrupt officials.
About 1 million Chinese nationals may have entered the country using the “pastillas” scheme, she said.
“Sa P10,000 na ‘yan, dalawang libo ang nakararating sa ating airports, pinaghahatian sa level ng airport. Asan ang 8,000?” Hontiveros asked.
“Ang sabi ng informant, distributed na bago makarating sa airport” sa Chinese tour operator, ka-kontrata na local tour operator, at sa sindaikatong magdodownstream sa airport.”
Prior to this, Hontiveros held a press conference involving a 23-year-old Taiwanese national who escaped a prostitution den connected to the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).
The victim has narrated how she was illegally recruited and how she was abused by her employers.
Senators had launched a probe on POGOs due to the influx of illegal foreign workers in the industry, particularly Chinese nationals, and its failure to pay 50 billion pesos in taxes.
Legislative measures have also been filed in Congress imposing new taxes on POGOs and income tax on workers. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
Our Privacy Commitment
TV5 Network Inc. values and respects your right to privacy. We are committed to safeguarding your personal data in compliance with Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Why do we collect your personal information (as applicable)?
We collect and maintain basic information about you as users of TV5 sites for the following purposes:
Where do we get your personal information?
There are several ways we collect your personal information.
Information that you personally provided.
Most of the personal information we have are those that you have provided us when you:
Information we collect during your engagement with us
We also collect information as you use our products and services, like:
Information we collect from other sources
We also collect your personal information through other activities such as our market research initiatives, when you visit and use our websites and mobile apps, and from our subsidiaries, affiliates, and third-party business partners to whom you have given consent to share your information to us.
When do we disclose personal information?
There are circumstances when we are required to share some of the information you have provided us. In these cases, we ensure that your personal information will be disclosed on a confidential manner, through secure channels that is in compliance with the Data Privacy Act and other privacy laws.
In some instances, we may be required to disclose your personal information to our agents, subsidiaries, affiliates, business partners and other third-party agencies and service providers as part of our regular business operations and for the provision of our programs and services. This means we might share your information with:
How we protect your personal information
We also put in effect the following safeguards:
TV5 will not collect, use, or disclose your personal information for any purpose other than those identified in this Commitment, your Service Agreement or our Terms of Service, and any other purpose that you may have given your consent for.
For greater clarity, unless you provide specific consent, we shall not:
What are your choices?
You are given certain rights in relation to your personal data under the Data Privacy Act. We would like to ensure that we have your consent to continue to collect, use, and disclose your personal information for the purposes that we have identified. We want you to know that you do have choices and can object or withdraw your consent and/or edit your consent preferences at any time.
If you wish to have access to your personal information in our records; or you think that such personal information we have of you is incomplete, not up-to-date, or otherwise inaccurate, you may get in touch with our Data Privacy Officer through the contact details provided below. In some instances, we may request for supporting documents or proof before we effect any requested changes to your personal information.
Data Protection Officer
TV5 Network Inc.
Reliance corner Sheridan Streets
What happens when there are changes in our Policy?
You will always be provided notice if these changes are significant and, if we are required by law, we will ensure to obtain your updated consent.