BI Turns 83

Bureau of Immigration lunch get-together with Airport Press Club
Members of the Airport Press Club (APC) in a lunch get-together with Bureau of Immigration (BI) deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac during the anniversary of BI on Friday. The luncheon was held at the APC office in NAIA Terminal 1.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) celebrated its 83rd anniversary on Friday, with its chief, Commissioner Norman Tansingco, crediting his achievements to the support and efforts of the agency’s personnel whom he said tirelessly perform their duties.

Tansingco, who is also set to celebrate his first year in office later this month, said that he is grateful that the Bureau has come a long way in terms of organizational and system improvements, assuring that he understands the plight of BI employees, ‘who continuously face criticism despite their efforts’.

The BI Chief showcased achievements made by the agency in the past year, including more than 600 arrested illegal aliens, fugitives, and terrorists, exclusion of 2,768 foreigners and deportation of 1,330 aliens who are ineligible to enter or stay in the country for undesirability or other immigration offences.

The agency also completed the hiring and prometon processes of 455 personnel and maximized the utilization of its budget to ensure complete utilization of annual programs.

The BI hailed modernization efforts like the introduction of the eTravel, the partnership on the eVisa, the online application and payment system, and online visa extension.

Within the year, Tansingco announced that green lanes for Filipino and foreign frequent travelers, ACR I-Card Holders and Overseas Filipino workers will be opened in the country’s ports. Together with the e-gates, the green lanes, mobile counters, and rapid response teams are set to resolve concerns on congestion.

Tansingco said that for the coming years, modernization will remain a priority of the Bureau. They have endeavored to request for additional budget from the national government to procure much-needed electronic gates to replace 50% of their manual counters.

He said that the public will soon experience fully automated issuance and extensions of visas and permits, as well as other major immigration services and procedures.

“Tama na yung panahon ng luma at mabagal, gusto natin mabilis, maayos, at tapat ang serbisyo na ibibigay natin,” he stated.

He said that they are also hoping that the BI’s new law will soon replace the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, for the agency to better adapt to modern times.

“We have achieved so much, and are yet to achieve more. We have been at the receiving end of unfair criticisms, yet we remain undeterred in our drive to protect the abuse of our country’s borders. We will continue to invest in modern infrastructure. Our vision is to become a global exemplar of efficiency and excellence in immigration services,” Tansingco said.

The first appointed Commissioner that came from the ranks, Tansingco worked at the BI from 2007 to 2017, holding several key posts including Chief of Staff and technical assistant of the Office of the Commissioner,and as a lawyer of the BI Board of Special Inquiry.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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