Philippines stops issuing haj passports to Muslim pilgrims
Manila, Aug 30 (IANS) The Philippines has stopped issuing haj passports for Muslim pilgrims after detention of over 170 Indonesians with fake documents using Manila as a transit to Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Tuesday saud that the issuance of haj passports has become a source of corruption in the Foreign Department.
“This has really been the source of these fraudulent transactions and corruption,” he said.
Because of this, the secretary said the government is considering to suspend issuing these kind of documents for good.
The haj passports is a special travel document issued by pilgrims to Mecca.
On August 19, Philippine immigration agents detained at least 177 Indonesian nationals who attempted to leave the Philippines allegedly using the haj passports. Also detained were the Filipino escorts who apparently facilitated the issuance of such passports.
Initial investigation showed the Indonesians paid $6,000 to 10,000 each to obtain the travel documents.