BI fields more personnel to airports as holiday rush begins

MANILA A total of 56 immigration officers will be deployed to different international airports to beef up their manpower in anticipation of the influx of international passengers that will enter and exit the country during the holiday break.

Bureau of Immigration's (BI) Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued an order directing the concerned employees to report to their airport assignments starting this week.

We are actually expecting an upsurge of travelers entering the Philippines by around the second or third week of December as Christmastime approaches, Medina said in a statement.

Medina has recommended to the BI chief the implementation of a personnel augmentation scheme in view of the reported increase in the number of passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other airports in the past few days.

Of the 56 BI officers given new assignments, 19 of them will be reporting to the NAIA while the 37 others were dispersed to the airports in Clark, Mactan, Kalibo, and Davao.

They are presently assigned at the BI main office and in other immigration field and satellite offices nationwide.

Medina noted that the additional manpower, and the opening of the 21 e-gates in major airports nationwide, would greatly reduce the queuing time of the traveling public.

Our goal is to provide fast and smooth immigration inspection this Yuletide season. Our priority is the Overseas Filipino Workers who are here for Christmas. We are providing a more efficient service so that our kababayans will be able to spend more time with their families, he added.

With this, the BI official clarified that the reassignment is only temporary and that the officials would return to their original posts in the second week of January when passenger volume at the airports is anticipated to drop.

Morente reportedly instructed Medina to keep a close eye on the immigration lines in all international airports to ensure they are minimized.

Likewise, he reiterated his standing directive to BI personnel in the different ports to maintain the highest state of alert during the Yuletide season.

The BI head added that they cannot allow human traffickers and other syndicates to take advantage of the holiday rush and use the country's ports as venues for carrying out their nefarious activities. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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