Stories of Filipinos having to go through lengthy questioning at immigration before exiting the country have made the rounds on social media, but perhaps none more so than the story of Cham Tanteras, a female passenger who was taken in for further questioning by an immigration officer, and was even asked for her yearbook — which caused her to miss her flight to Israel and book another ticket worth PHP24,000 (US$437.31) the next day.
To ensure he doesn’t suffer the same fate, one passenger then decided to show up at the airport in his graduation toga, to the amusement of the internet.
In a cheeky Facebook post, online comedian Jim Morales posted photos of himself wearing a black graduation toga and cap at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport while catching a flight to Tokyo.
Morales said he was inspired by photos of other passengers who brought their college diplomas to the airport.
“Of course I was nervous, since I work as a comedian. I wanted to wear my graduation toga to the airport so they wouldn’t ask me any more questions,” Morales cheekily told Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital.
Following the backlash because of Tanteras’ account, the Bureau of Immigration released an apology but asked for consideration and understanding as these were measures taken to curb human trafficking.
“Recently, the BI noted numerous young urban professionals — those with good travel records, gainfully employed, and are graduates of good schools — that have been victimized by a cryptocurrency scam syndicate that transports them to Myanmar and other Asian countries. Victims have been promised a salary of 1,000 USD per month, but were forced to scam Westerners. If unable to reach their quota, they were be subjected to corporal punishment. We have initiated coordination with popular social media platforms to discuss ways to combat this issue,” it wrote.
However, the apology did not sit well with netizens, who still felt that the bureau was not being accountable for the incident.
Jeepney and UV Express passengers can expect their daily commutes to get cushier. Read more.
The Filipina shared on TikTok that she was even taken to a holding office, where the immigration officer asked her for her yearbook and graduation photos. Read more.
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