Immigration launches P329-million E-Gate project to Expedite Passenger Processing

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DAVAO CITY (July 20) — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday July 19, launched  its P329-million Electronic Gate System (E-Gate) project in a bid to further improve the processing of international passengers and reduce the long queues of travelers at the airports.

BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said that with the project’s launching at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau expects to cut the standard processing time for every traveler to only about 8 to 15 seconds from the present average of 45 seconds.

In a press statement, Morente said that aside from facilitating expeditious passenger processing, the project will also enhance the BI’s ability to pinpoint or detect travelers with derogatory records, including wanted fugitives and those who are in the Immigration Blacklist, Watchlist and Hold Departure List.

Morente emphasized “This project could not have come at a more opportune time in view of the steadily increasing volume of international flights and travelers that enter and exit the country everyday.”  He added that the Bureau’s is still hampered by their lack of manpower in the different airports.

The E-Gates are equipped with modern security features such as facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reading, and smart card recognition all rolled into one system.

Marc Red A. Mariñas, Immigration  OIC Deputy Commissioner , who heads the Bureau’s Port Operations Division (POD), said that the P329-million project was funded by the national government and is an initiative of the International Air Transport Assocaition (IATA) through its Fast Travel program.

Mariñas, however, clarified that the project is still in its experimental phase, thus it will first be introduced to Filipino passengers with machine readable passports. Children, senior citizens on wheelchairs and other handicapped travelers will have to be processed at the regular counters, he added.

BI Deputy Commissioner J. Tobias Javier described the E-Gate system as a “fast travel and accurate border clearing system” that will “eliminate errors in passenger verification and provide the bureau with a quick system to detect persons of interest trying to cross the country’s borders”.

“It not only expedites our clearing time but reduce human errors in our passenger clearing process,” Javier said.

A total of 21 E-Gates will be installed and operational before the year ends in 5 major international airports. Eleven E-Gates will be installed at NAIA Terminals 1 and 3, while five will later operate in Mactan, three at Clark, and two in Davao.-NewsLine.ph

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