MANILA, Dec. 12 (PIA)--The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is deploying 56 more immigration officers to different international airports to beef up their manpower in preparation for the holiday rush.
According to BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina, travel orders directing the concerned employees to report to their airport assignments starting this week were already issued by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.
"The added officers will be deployed to help process the thousands of international passengers expected to enter and exit the country in droves during the holiday break," Medina said.
Medina said the BI chief approved his recommendation to implement the personnel augmentation scheme in view of the reported increase in the number of passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other airports in the past few days.
"We are actually expecting an upsurge of travelers entering the Philippines by around the second or third week of December as Christmast time approaches," said Medina.
Medina shared that he plans to make sure that travelers will not encounter long lines both at the immigration arrival and departure areas, which is often a cause of concern for BI officials during the Christmas season.
It was learned that of the 56 BI officers who were issued travel orders, 19 will be reporting to the NAIA while the 37 others were dispersed to the airports in Clark, Mactan, Kalibo, and Davao.
The said immigration officers are presently assigned at the BI main office and in other immigration field and satellite offices nationwide.
Medina, nonetheless, clarified that the reassignment of the said employees are only temporary and that they would return to their current posts in the second week of January when passenger volume at the airports is anticipated to drop.
Medina believed that the added manpower, and the opening of the 21 e-gates in major airports nationwide, would greatly reduce the queuing time of the traveling public.
"Our goal is to provide fast and smooth immigration inspection this Yuletide season," said Medina.
"Our priority is the Overseas Filipino Workers who are here for Christmas. We are providing a more efficient service so that our kababayans will be able to spend more time with their families," he added.
Morente reportedly instructed Medina to "keep a close eye on the immigration lines in all international airports to ensure they are minimized".
The Commissioner likewise reiterated his standing directive to all BI personnel in the different ports to maintain the highest state of alert during the Yuletide season.
Morente said the BI cannot allow human traffickers and other syndicates to take advantage of the holiday rush and use the country's ports as venues for carrying out their nefarious activities. (PIA-NCR)