BI asks for protective equipment for personnel

March 22, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration yesterday appealed for help in securing personal protective equipment (PPE) amidst the Covid-2019 outbreak.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said they lack PPEs for frontline personnel, especially those assigned at the airports and seaports. 

“We are sourcing masks, alcohol, and other PPEs, but we are honestly finding it hard to procure these as there is a worldwide lack of supply.  

“Hence we often rely on donations from other government agencies and concerned entities,” he said.

Morente added that  they have been receiving PPE donations since February.  

“We wish to express our gratitude to government agencies, politicians, and private entities that donated face masks and alcohol to our frontliners,” he said.

Meanwhile, Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina lamented the situation at the frontlines during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.  

“Officers feel threatened by this virus, there is always a fear of being exposed to it,” he pointed out.

Medina said Immigration officers are the first to interact with arriving passengers that might be carriers of the virus.

“Our men have resorted to using makeshift or reusable facemasks to protect themselves,” Medina noted.

This prompted the BI chief to appeal for support in procuring much-needed PPEs. 

“We are one of those at risk in getting this virus. It’s a resource that gets depleted, and although we have been receiving donations from several entities, we need more because we are the first to interact with travelers from abroad.  We are duty-bound to perform our mandate at the borders despite the risks it involves,” Morente said.

Morente explained their Standard Operating Procedures in checking the health of their personnel.

“Part of our SOP is to ensure that the health of our officers be checked for Covid-2019 if they encountered a COVID-positive patient,” he said.  “We have instituted procedures for that, and have a medical team on standby to conduct triage and ensure that those who need testing are able to undergo it,” he said.