The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has refused to compensate the viral Filipina traveler who missed her flight to Israel and Palestine in December 2022 due to a lengthy immigration interview, stating that it is not “within their scope.”
According to a Rappler report, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a message that while they take complaints seriously, “damages” are not covered by the BI. However, they may take disciplinary action against an officer who has been negligent in their duties.
“We take any report or complaint seriously. Although damages may not be within the scope of the BI, we may take disciplinary action if we find that an officer has been remiss in their duty,” the report quoted the spokesperson’s message as saying.
The BI has faced criticism after Cham Tanteras, the Filipina traveler, shared her ordeal on Tiktok, which has quickly gone viral. She described how an immigration officer named Abdullah asked her “irrelevant” questions during a secondary interview, including why she appeared larger in her yearbook photo.
Tanteras claimed that the questioning took so long that airline staff had to repeatedly inform her and the office that she was the only passenger who had not boarded the plane.
The BI has issued an apology, but Tanteras said that it lacked concrete actions. She also called for disciplinary action against Officer Abdullah.
“More than the 19k, I would be more than happy if the BI takes action against Officer Abdullah. My whole issue won’t make any sense if this officer continues to mistreat fellow Filipinos,” she said.