BI braces for heavy congestion at airports during Chinese New Year

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2020   •   304

A thermal scanner monitors all arriving passengers inside Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines, 10 September 2014. EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said it is expecting a heavy volume of passengers in the country’s airports, especially at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), during the celebration of the Chinese New Year.

BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said they are expecting a 10 to 15 percent increase in departures during the Chinese New Year which will be celebrated on Saturday, January 25.

“Last year we saw a 14% increase in departures, this year the increase might be more or less the same,” he said in a statement.

“We are expecting a surge of Chinese residents in the Philippines who wish to spend the Chinese New Year abroad. It may result to heavy congestion of our airports, which could be avoided if they process and pay their fees before heading to the airport,” he added.

The BI said the Philippines is host to tens of thousands of Chinese immigrants and non-immigrants. In 2018 alone, a total of 1.3 M Chinese citizens were recorded to have entered the country.

In order to avoid long queues at immigration counters in NAIA, the bureau urged foreign travelers to process their re-entry fees at any of its offices before proceeding to the airport.

Under Philippine immigration policies, foreign nationals who are registered holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas are required to pay exit and re-entry permits every time they leave the country.

Official receipts of their re-entry permit fees should be presented before they are cleared for departure.

“We expect that the surge could congest our immigration cashiers, hence we are appealing to registered aliens to pre-pay their fees to avoid the congestion,” Medina said.

The BI said that reentry fees can be paid at its main office in Manila and at immigration field, satellite and extension offices nationwide.

“The BI has almost 60 offices nationwide that may cater to this need. It’s a very quick process, which will only take a few minutes. We also have offices located in malls and other convenient locations,” he said.

“Coming to the airport with the receipt at hand makes processing faster, allowing departing aliens to avoid the rush and relax before their flight,” he added.

PH Immigration chief revamps NAIA personnel following alleged ‘pastillas’ modus

Robie de Guzman   •   February 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Thursdayordered a total revamp of immigration personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) following the alleged ‘pastillas’ scheme controversy.

In a statement, Morente announced the reshuffle of immigration officers in NAIA Terminals 1 to 3 is “effective immediately” is in compliance of President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive.

The revamp covers Port Operations Division (POD) deputies, and terminal heads down to counter personnel, except the POD chief, which will be decided by Department of Justice, Morente said.

“This practice of rotating and changing assignments on a regular and programmed basis is both a means to enable better performance and encourage skill upgrades, as well as a necessary precaution against possible avenues for graft and corruption,” he said.

The bureau implemented the move amid probe into the alleged scheme involving immigration personnel assigned in airports who are accused of receiving pay-offs from syndicates of tour operators to facilitate the entry of fugitives and offshore gaming operations workers from China.  

At least 19 immigration personnel have been put under the Administration holding office pending the result of the investigation.

“These changes in management responsibilities and section assignments in our airports are part of the on-going actions that are being taken to address the recent resurgence of unauthorized activities and irregularities, as major steps have already been made to address these issues since 2016,” Morente said.

“These irregularities and their consequences impact on morale and detract from the professionalism and service that the men and women of the Bureau of Immigration are pledged to provide,” he added.

The BI chief also said that new protocols in the conduct of secondary inspections in open areas have been activated for transparency.

He also assured that appropriate disciplinary and administrative sanctions will be implemented according to the findings and decisions of the proper courts, both administrative and criminal.

Morente likewise said the bureau has south the assistance of the DOJ in the investigation to include private entities that act as recruiters of aliens to “break the chain of corruption and put an end to the illegal scheme.”

“These agencies, as mentioned in the Senate hearing, have counterparts both in China and in the Philippines, who reportedly receive bulk of the grease money given by Chinese nationals who avail of said VIP treatment,” he said.

“We see this as one of the major root causes, as these agencies are the source of the corruption,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

BI: Travel ban to South Korea still pending full implementation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 27, 2020

SOUTH KOREA TRAVEL BAN

The full implementation of the travel ban to South Korea due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat is still pending, according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

The Immigration Bureau said they are still waiting for the resolution from the Inter-Agency Task Force On Emerging Infectious Diseases.

According to BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval, they still have not received the detailed process and regulation for the said temporary travel ban to South Korea.

“We are awaiting for the copy of the EID resolution, as well as clarification on how to target arriving passengers coming from Daegu and North Gyeongsang,” the Immigration Bureau said in a statement.

Sandoval said the implemented travel ban for the meantime is for departing Filipinos for South Korea.

“Once na maplantsa na po natin ang lahat ng ito maglalabas po tayo agad ng travel advisory listing down any possible flight na pwedeng ma cancel dahil sa travel ban na ito, (Once everything is settled, we will immediately release a travel advisory listing down any possible flights that will be canceled due to the travel ban),” she said.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

PH to deport alleged British pedophile

Robie de Guzman   •   February 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A British national found to be overstaying in the country and is wanted by authorities in his country is set to be deported, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Thursday.

In a statement, Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Briton, identified as 58-year old Kevin Victor Ryder, is wanted in the United Kingdom (UK) for allegedly enticing a Filipino girl, a minor, to have sexual relations with him.

Ryder was arrested by operatives of the bureau’s fugitive search unit (FSU) in Angeles City, Pampanga last February 14.

Morente said Ryder is a registered sex offender in the UK as he was convicted in 2006 for child pornography, particularly making and possessing indecent images of children, and sentenced to 14 months in prison.

“We received a request for the UK authorities that he be arrested and deported due to reports that he was grooming a 12-year-old girl in the Philippines,” he said.

BI FSU chief Bobby Raquepo added that Ryder, who had been illegally staying in the Philippines for almost five years, was previously expelled from Thailand for committing sexual offenses against children there.

A check of the BI’s travel database showed that the British national last arrived as a tourist in the country in 2015 and he did not depart ever since.

“We will immediately deport him not only because he is an overstaying alien but because his continued presence here poses a serious threat to our Filipino children,” Morente said.

“He will be blacklisted after we deport him so he will be unable to return to the country.”

The suspect is currently detained at the BI detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City while awaiting deportation.

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