Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco assured the public of unhampered service in all ports for arriving and departing passengers this holiday season.
According to Tansingco, they have implemented several measures to maximize the BI’s manpower during the peak season.
“Historically, during Christmas and New Year, the number of travelers significantly increase worldwide,” said Tansingco. “Hence we are making sure that we are fully manned and ready to service the traveling public,” he added.
The assurance comes after a photo of long immigration lines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 was posted by a media outlet last November 12.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong clarified that during said incident, the long queue was caused by the simultaneous arrival of 11 flights, bringing the total number of passengers to more than 2,000.
“Processing that much passengers within a short period of time, coupled with the limited area for passengers is really bound to cause a queue,” said Capulong. “However, we make sure that we process them as efficiently as possible, and the lines were finished immediately,” he added.
Capulong shared that 14 primary inspection officers were augmented by immigration officers from their rapid response team, which they activate as needed. He added that the 5 electronic gates located in NAIA 3 are all fully operational, lessening processing time to as much as 8 seconds per person.
“Airport personnel will also be prohibited to go on leave during the peak season to ensure adequate manpower,” said Capulong.
The BI has more than 140 counters at the arrival and departure areas of the NAIA, with several lanes prioritizing Filipinos and OFWs.
“We remain committed to ensure that we deliver the best service especially during the holiday season,” said Tansingco. He highlighted that their processes at the NAIA are ISOcertified, proving that they are at par with international standards. “We aim to further improve our services in the next few years, to make things faster and easier for travelers as we welcome tourists again to our shores,” he added.
The BI also reported that 55 more immigration officers are currently training in the Philippine Immigration Academy, to be assigned to the airports and other BI offices upon graduation.