DESPITE the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it was able to raise more than P3 billion in revenues for the government during the first half of the year.
The BI said the bureau’s collections would have already reached record levels at this time without the pandemic which forced the agency to suspend services and scale down operations in most of its offices.
The 95 percent drop in the number of local and foreign travelers who entered and exited the country led to a tremendous decline in the volume of the bureau’s clientele.
It was learned that the bureau’s collection of immigration fees from January to June totaled P3.14 billion, which is 39-percent lower than the P4.3 billion the agency remitted to the national treasury in the same period last year.
The accomplishment came amid the pandemic so that the bureau is just 50 percent short of attaining its target of P6.18 billion for 2020.
BI Financial Management Division Chief Judith Ferrera reported that prior to the pandemic, the BI was poised to post another record high collection this year.
She said that in January and February, the BI’s total collection already stood at nearly P1.8 billion but revenues suddenly dropped to P481 million in March when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine due to the pandemic.
Ferrera also revealed that last year, the BI deposited to the national coffers more than P10.5 billion which is 111-percent more than its revenue target for 2019.
Nonetheless, the BI is optimistic that it will attain its income target for the year as the country transitions to “new normal” under less restrictive quarantine measures.
It was learned that the BI is seeing a resurgence in the number of people transacting in its offices and as the economy slowly reopens and travel restrictions are eased, a steady rise in its revenues in the next few months is anticipated.