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BI scales to operate on skeletal workforce

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) ordered all its offices in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces which are under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to scale down their operations and downsize their workforce to prevent COVID-19 transmission in their workplace.

In an advisory, the BI said that all BI offices in the so-called “bubble” area—National Capital Region, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan, will operate with a skeletal workforce and on shortened working hours, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until April 4 or until the ECQ is lifted.

BI officials and employees who are pregnant and those with immune deficiency, comorbidity, and other serious health problems were likewise instructed to work from home instead of going to their offices.

Aside from the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila, the bureau operates satellite and extension offices in Makati, Pasay, Taguig, Quezon City, and Las Pinas. Their student visa office is likewise found in Quezon City.

The BI also has field offices in Dasmariñas City, Cavite; Santa Rosa City, Laguna; and Taytay City, Rizal.

The directive is pursuant to the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) which recently urged President Rodrigo Duterte to place the said areas under ECQ from March 29 to April 4.

The BI said the working arrangement does not apply to personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) who will continue report for duty on three shifts daily and ensure that all international flights are served and processed by immigration officers without interruption.

The port operations division (POD) was also ordered to temporarily reduce the number of its personnel reporting for duty in each shift and lessen the number of their duty days until such time that the surge of the coronavirus is contained.

The move follows the announcement that the international inbound passenger capacity at NAIA shall be limited to a maximum of 1,500 passengers per day.