BI operations in airports now back to normal after Lent, earthquake

Maris Federez   •   April 29, 2019   •   914

A passenger passing thru one of NAIA’s E-gates.

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) operations in major airports are now back to normal following the surge in the volume of passengers during the Holy Week break and the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit the Central Luzon on April 22.

This was announced by Bi port operations division chief Grifton Medina on Sunday (April 28), adding that the agency’s operations in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport (CIA) have already normalized.

“Immigration operations at Clark airport are now back to normal after we resumed full operation on Wednesday following the closure due to earthquake damage,” Medina added.

The BI official also reported that they were able to effectively managed the influx of passengers, including the ones diverted from the CIA, because of the implementation of the personnel augmentation scheme, and the fully functional electronic gates at the airports.

“I’d like to commend our immigration officers in the frontlines for maintaining vigilance and professionalism during the past weeks. Rest assured that we will strive to be a more efficient bureau in the coming years,” he added.

Mediana further said that the immigration officers who were part of the augmentation scheme are now back to the BI main office and other immigration field and satellite offices.

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that he has ordered the collection of in-kind donations from their employees for the recent earthquake victims.

He said the BI offices in Clark and Angeles will serve as the repository of donations from employees. He had also sent several bureau personnel to assist in the relief efforts.

“We have likewise sent men to assist in the relief efforts. We will be extending help wherever possible,” he noted.  –Maris Federez

Duterte tells DOTr to put more seats at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte expressed concern over the plight of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) crowding the premises of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

He has ordered Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to provide additional resting areas and chairs for waiting passengers.

In the past weeks, thousands of LSIs flocked the premises of NAIA hoping for their flights to proceed.

“Walang maupuan. Iilan lang ang upuan. Kapag may flights nagpatong-patong, ang iba nakatindig. What’s really worse is that mayroong restaurant sa labas na malaki,” the President told Tugade during the late night briefing on Tuesday (June 30).

(There are not enough seats. When there are flights, people would crowd and some are forced to stand. The worst part is, there’s a huge restaurant outside.)

Paalisin mo ang restaurant. Lagyan ng upuan kasi ang mga buntis, mga bata, walang upuan,” he added.

(Remove the restaurant. Put more seats because pregnant women and children have nowhere to sit.)

Meanwhile, the President asked Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to provide for the needs of LSIs outside the airport premises. 

Gather all na naghihintay ng walang matulugan, walang matirhan at nandiyan sa labas ng NAIA,” he told Año.

(Gather all those who have no place to stay and are just staying outside of NAIA.)

“You will be transported to a place. I will pay. Just bill me [including food],” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Normal operations resume at NAIA after 12-hour closure

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2019

(FILE) Passengers enter Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Passenger Terminal 3 located in a suburban city in Manila, Philippines on 07 February 2013. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – It’s business as usual again at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday (December 4) after a 12-hour closure due to the inclement weather brought about by now severe tropical storm Tisoy.

The country’s premier gateway was temporarily closed from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Tuesday which led to cancellations of several international and domestic flights.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal reiterates his call on affected passengers to coordinate with their respective airline carriers for rebooking or refunding of tickets.

Unless flight changes are properly coordinated, passengers are advised not to proceed to NAIA to avoid congestion in terminals and to minimize the volume of stranded passengers at the airport. MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

PH resumes stamping on Chinese passports with nine-dash line map

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday (November 6) announced that it will resume stamping of Philippine visa on Chinese regular e-passports.

“We support this policy update of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement.

The BI stopped stamping visas directly on Chinese passports in 2012 under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III in protest to the map of China imprinted on it which shows China’s aggressive claims over the South China Sea using the undefined demarcation line referred to as the “nine-dash line” that encompasses the contested territories such as the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.

This claim was invalidated in 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration saying it has no legal basis.

But China has never accepted the international court’s ruling in favor of the Philippines but instead, carried on with its reclamation activities in the disputed territories.

The practice of using a separate sheet for Chinese travelers came after a month-long standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the Scarborough Shoal in that same year.

In a memorandum issued by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, immigration officers are instructed to affix their stamps adjacent to the Philippine visa of a regular e-passport presented by a Chinese passenger in compliance with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) foreign service circular.

This change in policy, Morente said, will address security concerns associated with stamping Philippine visas on a separate paper.

“We support this policy update of the DFA,” said Morente.

“In the past, we have also expressed security concerns over the old practice because sheets of papers can easily be lost,” he added.

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