Manila's forgers graduate with honors from 'Recto University'
Fake official documents can be bought off the street in Manila for as little as 500 pesos (US$11)
January 17th, 2012
12:18 PM ET

Manila's forgers graduate with honors from 'Recto University'

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN

(CNN) - If you don't have the time, inclination and, more importantly, the money to go to university in Manila, you can still get a degree. It will cost you between $US10 and $US60, it will take about two hours to complete and it will be fake.

Welcome to "Recto University," the name Manila mockingly gives to the strip of document counterfeiters that openly ply their trade between Claro M. Recto and Rizal Avenues in the Philippines capital.

Located a stone's throw from Manila's university district and, somewhat ironically, Manila City Jail, the counterfeiters of Recto can run off a university testamur, any type of diploma, a job reference and, more worryingly, a pilot's license and a seaman's certificate in a matter of hours.

"Today business is not so good," says a hawker sitting beside a makeshift sign displaying fake diplomas, driver's licenses and job references that can be bought for as little as 500 pesos (US$11.50).

"If we do five documents a day, we're doing well," he says smiling broadly. "Sunday is our best day, because people start class or work the next day. Term time at the universities is much better for us than the semester break.

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