BI augments manpower at NAIA ahead of holiday surge
Marje Pelayo • December 4, 2020 • 205
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is augmenting its manpower at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) this December in view of the expected influx of travelers during the holiday season.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente directed immigration officers assigned at the bureau’s main office and other satellite, extension and field offices in Metro Manila to be deployed at NAIA to render primary inspection duties at the airport’s immigration arrival and departure counters.
“This is a temporary measure that we are taking proactively,” Morente said.
“While we do not expect a major rise in the number of travelers this holiday season, we’d rather err on the side of caution and beef up our deployment,” he added.
The directive comes after the recent update on international travel restrictions by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) which again allowed the visa free entry of balikbayans.
Immigration officers presently assigned at BI offices in Metro Manila are required to comply with the directive.
This order exempts division and section chiefs, seniors and those suffering from serious illnesses.
BI port operations division chief Atty. Candy Tan said she sought the augmentation of immigration personnel at NAIA in anticipation of a slight increase in the number of international flights and volume of passengers in the coming weeks despite travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has boosted its One-Stop-Shop as more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) return home for the holidays.
DOTr’s Office for the Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Usec. Raul Del Rosario said this is to prevent the previous inconvenience caused by delayed COVID-19 test results.
Based on the OTS data, an estimated 5,000 OFWs arrive in the Philippines every day during the holidays.
Del Rosario also said additional Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel were deployed.
The One-Stop-Shop partnered with four COVID-testing laboratories to accommodate more OFWs.
“Nagkaroon kami ng commitment among these laboratories, nag-commit sila na 24 hours ilalabas nila ang result at walang lalagpas ng 48 hours (We had a commitment among these laboratories. They committed to release the results in 24 hours and not exceeding 48 hours),” he said.
The One-Stop-Shop can process 10,000 swab tests per day, Del Rosario added.
Aside from the laboratories, there are also 21,000 slots available in hotels where OFWs can stay while waiting for their COVID-19 test results. -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday (December 7) announced that it is banning its employees from posting videos of themselves dancing, singing and performing other acts while wearing their official uniform via the social networking service called ‘Tiktok.’
“Our policy on the wearing of the BI uniform is clear,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed.
“As public servants and supposed model Filipinos, employees must proudly wear their uniform at all times, present a professional image to the public and observe proper decorum and good taste in all their actions while they are on duty,” he said noting that the prohibition was imposed to strictly enforce the agency’s regulations on the wearing of the BI uniform.
He emphasized that the integrity of the Bureau’s uniform must be upheld at all times because it represents the institution of the Philippine immigration service.
He added that the posting of such videos on social media by BI employees undermines the reputation of the bureau and creates a negative image for the agency’s personnel, especially the frontline immigration officers assigned in the ports of entry.
Morente also warned BI employees that taking such videos of themselves when they are at work constitutes violation of a standing directive prohibiting the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets while they are on duty.
It also violates the Bureau’s social media policy which states that: “BI personnel must adhere with the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees with respect to their actions online, and to desist from behaviors that would bring disrepute to public service”.
All employees were likewise ordered to “observe proper decorum on social media to protect the integrity of the agency”.
The order came after several videos of airport immigration officers on Tiktok surfaced online. The BI chief described the videos as “reckless” which belittles the image of the bureau.
He warned that employees who defy the ban may be charged administratively for insubordination and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service.
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Sunday (December 6) reported the arrest of 332 foreign nationals working without appropriate visas in an operation launched by joint operatives of the BI and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday (December 2).
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said they received information from the NBI-International Operations Division about a worksite in Pag-asa Street, Barangay Dela Cruz, Bamban, Tarlac allegedly employing at least 200 undocumented aliens.
“Upon investigation and verification with our agents, we immediately issued a mission order to effect their arrest,” said Morente.
BI and NBI agents arrested in the operation 323 Chinese nationals; 8 Malaysian nationals; and 1 Indonesian found working by manning computers, using cellular phones, and other electronic devices, without proper working visas.
Morente said their operations reportedly involved online gambling, internet fraud, and cybercrime operations.
“They were conducting clandestine operations. Their worksite was in a compound that was under construction, and they didn’t leave the premises as they already have their barracks there,” he added.
They face deportation for violation of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940
All 332 are currently under the physical custody of the NBI pending the filing of appropriate immigration charges and actual deportation.
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