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BI goes on heightened alert as Holy Week passenger arrivals average 30k to 32k

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With passenger arrivals at airports now averaging between 30,000 and 32,000 daily and even expected to increase to around 40,000 on Maundy Thursday onwards, a heightened alert was raised by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for its personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals and in the other international ports nationwide.

“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,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said.

The BI chief said that the BI has also fielded more than a hundred added immigration officers to the NAIA to augment the number of personnel manning the immigration booths in the arrival and departure areas of the premiere port. A total of 36 new immigration officers that recently concluded their training at the Philippine Immigration Academy in Clark, Pampanga were also fielded.

“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.

Tansingco said 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 said that the BI’s electronic gates are fully-operational at the airport to allow digital processing of arrivals for as fast as eight seconds per passenger.

The BI, he said, anticipates a far bigger number of travelers who will enter and exit the country during this year’s Lenten break in light of the country’s reopening of its borders after the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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