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BI tells public: eTravel registration is free of charge

Norman Tansingco
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco stressed that registration in the eTravel is free of charge. ( JERRY S. TAN)

Registration in the eTravel platform is free of charge, thus travelers should be wary of unscrupulous elements who charges fees from passengers via these fake websites.

This warning was raised by Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco to the traveling public, amid reports that scammers operate websites that charge and collect fees as purported payments for registering in the government’s electronic travel declaration system known as eTravel.

Tansingco stressed: “The eTravel registration process is absolutely free of charge. We, therefore, advise the traveling public to register only in the government’s official website at https://etravel.gov.ph.”.

The BI cbhief urged the public to beware of the said fraudulent websites or entities which require any form of online payment and to report them to the cybercrime investigation and coordinating center (CICC) via its website at https://cicc.gov.ph/report/.

The BI chief issued the warning following reports of passengers at the airports who claim they have already registered in the eTravel platform and “paid” the supposed fees that were charged to them.

Amounts allegedly collected from the passengers amount to between P3,000 to P5,000, when converted to peso as the fees charged by the scammers are usually in US dollars.

BI officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have reported instances of many passengers who were surprised when informed that they have to register in the eTravel as the digital QR code they presented could not be accessed in the system.

“It is only when they encounter our officers at the airport that these passengers would realize they have been duped by these fraudsters and scammers in the internet,” Tansingco said.

The eTravel was launched earlier this year, and serves as the single data collection platform for arriving and departing passengers. It establishes an integrated border control, health surveillance, and economic data analysis.

It is a joint project of the agency with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

The project abolished the paper-based arrival and departure cards, as well as the quarantine form. It was hailed for lessening paper-based requirements for travelers, using a system similar to that used by other advanced countries.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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