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Offloaded travelers reimbursement might have 'chilling effect' on BI officers — DOJ spox

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 1) — Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesman Mico Clavano said the agency still has to study the proposal to have a reimbursement scheme to offloaded travelers as it might have a «chilling effect» on screening officers.

«Kailangan muna naming pag-aralan yan,» Clavano said Thursday, stressing that the provision can also be subjected to abuse by deceitful passengers.

He said screening officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) may be pressured with the time it can question a passenger.

READ: DOJ: 'Unfair' for BI to reimburse travelers offloaded due to long immigration assessment

«Baka matakot pa yung immigration officer na mag offload [The immigration officer might be afraid to offload], even if it's the duty of the immigration officer to really do that,» the spokesman said.

«May discretion ang immigration officer. Kapag makita nila na mayroong red flags at sa tingin nila medyo may fraudulent representation doon sa mga requirements, we really have to put that at the forefront,» he added.

[Translation: The immigration officer has discretion. If they see any red flags or they think there's a fraudulent representation on the requirements, we really have to put that at the forefront.]

Sen. Chiz Escudero earlier proposed to place a special provision on the BI's budget that can be used for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses of Filipino passengers who failed to board their flight.

Clavano, meanwhile, said the DOJ will discuss the proposal with BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking.

«As of now, there's still no mechanism by which we can reimburse them,» he clarified.