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Passports are not collateral for a loan

HONG KONG (Mabuhay) : The Philippine consul general, Noel Servigon, warned people not to give up their passports voluntarily to anyone, at a gathering held in the consulate general offices in Admiralty on May 6.
 
“We are getting more and more requests for help from people who have given their passports to other Filipinos as collateral for loans,” he told the group.
 
“I need to inform you that the consulate cannot do anything to help in these circumstances,” he continued.
 
The consul general pointed out that this is quite a different case from a recruitment agency or an employer withholding a passport, as the person has given it up voluntarily.
 
He explained that a passport is government property and the holder of the document is responsible for its proper use and care. “If you hand someone your passport as collateral for a loan, you are the one at fault and in breach of the law, so officials cannot help you,”  he said.
 
If it is confiscated by a recruitment agency or taken by your employer, they are the ones in breach of the law, so then it is possible for the consulate to take some action.
 
Servigon said that you never know when you will need your passport to sign a new contract, or if you get suddenly terminated, so you should look after it with the greatest of care.
 
On April 20 this year, a 40-
year-old Filipino, Edwina Dilan Banerjee, was convicted in the District Court in Kowloon of charging between 66 and 538 per cent per annum interest on loans made to acquaintances and police found three passports in her home during a search.
 
Servigon warned that even though you may be desperate for money, it is really not worth doing business with people who flaunt both the law and all conventions of human decency, as the fallout can be out of proportion with the quick fix for your problem.