The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it has placed on heightened alert its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and in the other international ports nationwide in anticipation of a large influx of international passengers during the Lenten break.
“We are bracing for a surge in the volume of passenger who are expected to travel in and out of the country during the Holy Week, thus we have to alert our border control officers for any eventuality that may arise during this period,” Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement.
Tansingco said the BI has also fielded more than a hundred added immigration officers to the NAIA to augment the number of manpower manning the immigration booths in the arrival and departure areas of the premiere port.
“This will ensure that our services to the traveling public are not interrupted or compromised even if there is a sharp increase in passenger volume. That is why we have banned our port personnel from going on leave during the Lenten break,” he added.
According to the BI chief, he has instructed the bureau’s terminal heads in the airports to implement stricter measures in screening passengers and deter any attempts by human trafficking syndicates to take advantage of the occasion in spiriting their victims out of the country.
BI port personnel were also ordered to be vigilant in screening arriving foreigners to make sure that no unwanted or illegal aliens are able to slip into the country.
Tansingco bared that BI’s electronic gates are fully operational at the airport which allows digital processing of arrivals for as fast as eight seconds per passenger.
The BI foresees a far bigger number of travelers who will enter and exit the country during his year’s Lenten break in light of the country’s reopening of its borders after the lifting of Covid19 travel restrictions.
Statistics show that passenger arrivals at airports now averages between 30,000 to 32,000 daily, compared to only 5,000 to 6,000 a year ago. They said that they project that the number will rise up to around 40,000 during Maundy Thursday onwards.
The BI also fielded 36 new immigration officers that recently concluded their training at the Philippine Immigration Academy in Clark, Pampanga