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BI goes on heightened alert for ‘Undas’

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco assured the the bureau has enough manpower at the airports to service passengers who will travel in and out of the country during the Undas break.

He said that all BI officers in all airports are likewise placed on heightened alert to ensure that criminal syndicates do not take advantage of the influx of passengers.

“I have ordered all terminal heads to conduct close monitoring of our operations these coming weeks to ensure smooth processing,” he said, adding that its personnel deployed in all major international airports remain sufficient to cater to the needs of the traveling public.

As previously practiced, Tansingco said officers are disallowed from going on vacation leaves during the peak season.

He said that the agency expects a surge of travelers in the next few weeks and projects a total of 4 million arrivals for the entire 4th quarter of 2023. The BI also projects around 3.8 million departures from October to December.

“We are close to seeing pre-pandemic figures in our arrivals and departures. We have implemented numerous changes in our systems to cater to the resumption of international travel after the pandemic,” Tansingco said.

Apart from the new immigration officers, the BI chief said he has assigned augmentation teams and had mobile counters ready for deployment as needed.

“Given that we have limited space, we have to be creative in our ways to ease the lines,” he said.

Prior to the pandemic, the passenger volume at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport usually increases by an average of 6 to 10 percent.

Tansingco said that while lines would be inevitable given that flights carrying numerous passengers arrive and depart simultaneously at the airport, he assured that they would be manageable.

He reminded the public to arrive at the airports at least 3 hours prior to their flight and proceed directly to the immigration area for clearance after check-in.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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