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Pinoy Abroad

DFA exec warns Pinoys: Don't use tourist visas to work in Southeast Asian nations

An official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday warned Filipinos who want to seek jobs in Southeast Asian countries to not enter the countries via tourist visas.

"Huwag pupunta doon ng turista na bobolahin kayo ng recruiter na pagdating niyo doon icoconvert sa working visa, hindi po ganoon sa Southeast Asia so red flag na 'yun," DFA Undersecretary Eduardo Jose De Vega said at a public briefing.

(Don't go there as tourists. Recruiters will trick you that the tourist visa can be converted to a working visa. It's not like that in Southeast Asia.)

This came after eight Filipinos became victims of human trafficking in Myanmar.

The Filipinos arrived in the Philippines on Monday morning. The victims, four of whom were made to work as online scammers in crypto currency farms, were rescued by Myanmar authorities and the Philippine Embassy in Yangon.

According to the DFA official, the human trafficking does not solely happen in Myanmar but also in Laos and Cambodia.

"Hindi lang nangyayari sa Myanmar 'to pati sa Laos, Cambodia (This does not solely happen in Myanmar but also in Laos, Cambodia) and we thank the government for providing assistance to the Philippines," De Vega said.

Reports said the Filipinos were recruited to act as tourists in Thailand then illegally brought to Myanmar to work as online scammers.

The victims said they were abused and threatened if they refused to follow orders. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA Integrated News