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IWG launched by BI, UNOCT to elevate passenger data system

BI chief Norman Tansingco (third from right) at the UNOCT launch of IWG to elevate passenger data systems. (JERRY S. TAN)

THE first meeting of the Southeast Asia Regional Informal Working Group (IWG) on Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) and other data collected from air and maritime passengers was launched by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT).

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the launch event commenced the two-day forum which started last December 6 and was attended by around 100 delegates representing law enforcement, civil aviation, and counter-terrorism agencies from over 10 countries and member states.

The BI co-chaired the event, showing their commitment in progressing on the project together with other countries in the region.

“With experts from the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as analysts from other countries serving as presenters and panelists, I have no reservation that we shall accomplish all the objectives for which this group meeting was organized,” the BI chief said.

The IWG aims to provide each participant a comprehensive overview of what it takes to build national API and PNR systems and associated Passenger Information Units (PIUs). API and PNR data contain information on travelers prior to departure and upon booking of their ticket, and contains personal details such as passport information, addresses, and contact details.

The said data are integral in the BI’s advance passenger information system (APIS), wherein advance data are set to be received by the BI for prior vetting and trends analysis, to be used in better border management.

This system, the BI said, would add another layer of security in protecting the country against external threats, including international terrorists.

Tansingco highlighted the goal to have a shared understanding among member states regarding the utilization of API and PNR data and to provide a platform for peer-to-peer support, fostering mutual learning among the states.

“We are convening here and now on matters that are critical to global peace and regional security at a time when geopolitical forces, as well as international trade, are moving at breakneck speed,” Tansingco said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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