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Bureau of Immigration is prepared for an influx of vacationers

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On Friday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reaffirmed its readiness for the influx of visitors, especially the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will be returning for the holidays.

Melvin Mabulac, a deputy BI spokesperson, stated in a Laging Handa briefing that the organization has put personnel and mechanisms in place to ensure a seamless flow of passengers coming and departing at the nation’s international airports.

“We are confident that our crew is ready for the forthcoming busy season. However, given the high volume of tourists around this time and the numerous flights arriving simultaneously, we cannot rule out the possibility of lines. But you may anticipate that we’ll handle your arriving and departing passengers quickly,” Mabulac continued.

According to Mabulac, the BI will send out a rapid response team to increase staffing at the immigration desks and shorten lengthy lines.

The BI’s “e-gates” for Filipino tourists, which reduce immigration processing time from the standard 45 seconds to just eight seconds, are completely functioning, he noted.

In order to increase the number of employees who can be deployed to airports, he continued, BI personnel are not permitted to request leaves of absence during the Christmas season.

“We also anticipate the graduation of 55 new immigration officers from the Philippine Immigration Academy. They will be given assignments to various BI offices and our airports, according to Mabulac.

He also pointed out that although the number of arrivals has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, travelers have gradually begun to enter the nation.

“Since we loosened our travel restrictions, more people have been arriving at our airports. Although we have not yet reached our pre-pandemic levels, we have already noticed an improvement, according to Mabulac.

“The Department of Tourism and the Bureau of Immigration invite travelers to visit us again. We hope that more Filipinos will visit their loved ones in the Philippines during the next Christmas season,” he continued.

BI investigates a possible case of human trafficking

Meanwhile, three victims of human trafficking who attempted to leave the country unlawfully by presenting forged credentials have been the subject of an investigation by immigration commissioner Norman Tansingco.

This followed the BI receiving information about a human trafficking incident that happened on November 6 at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The three victims—two women and one man—have made separate attempts to board flights bound for Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.

“We acquired a copy of a report stating that the three were detained early on Sunday morning by airport police and security personnel. The trio allegedly entered the boarding gates using fraudulent airport access credentials, the BI chief continued.

According to the report, the victims showed identification documents attesting to their employment at various businesses housed inside the airport’s grounds as well as passes they used to try to get past immigration checks by entering through the employees’ entrance.

But after a careful examination, airport authorities discovered that the IDs and permits were false.

They had bogus immigration stamps on their boarding permits and passports as well.

“One of the victims revealed that they had been traveling to Lebanon without the necessary papers in order to work there. This is a blatant instance of human trafficking, which is quite concerning given that they are attempting to elude severe immigration scrutiny using these tricks, according to Tansingco.

The same thing happened in 2014 when police stopped four trafficking victims who tried to enter through the door for staff members.

Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino

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