MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Consul General Antonio Morales revealed Friday that over 1,000 OFW passports were seized in Hongkong after holders used them as collateral to borrow money.
The pawning of passports violates Republic Act 8283 or the Philippine Passport Act.
In a report from DZMM, Morales stated that although unlawful, it is customary for some OFWs in Hongkong to use their passports as collateral for loans.
“Nasa 1,400 pasaporte ang kanilang ipinirenda sa isang nagpapautang sa ating mga kababayan. Nahuli ng pulis at kinuha ‘yung 1,400 passports,” said Morales.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) received 904 of the seized passports, while the others were issued a new passport and travel documents.
According to the report, the illegal money lender is from Hongkong. However, no other details were given about the suspect.
Wrong use of passport is punishable by law, Morales said. The passport of the person engaging in such activities will be canceled in his first offense and, if he applies for a new one, he will only be given a 5-year-validity.
The second offense is a one-way pass going to the Philippines, and only in the Philippine he can get a new one, Morales ended.
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