Immigration on heightened alert for Holy Week

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DAVAO CITY (April 13) — All seaports and airport in the country has been placed under heightened alert as the nation braces for the Holy Week.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) placed on heightened alert its personnel in all the international airports and seaports, as a big leap in the volume of passengers who would travel in and out of the country during the Lenten break.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has ordered the deployment of more than 50 immigration officers to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to augment the number of personnel manning the immigration booths in the arrival and departure areas of the premiere port during the peak season.

Morente directed all Port Operations Division (POD) to implement stricter measures in screening all arriving and departing passengers and to ensure that enough manpower are available in our airports to service the needs of the traveling public.

BI POD Chief Grifton Medina disclosed that in compliance with Morente’s directive, he issued a memorandum banning all BI airport personnel, including the terminal heads and duty supervisors, from going on leave from April 8 to 22.

“Except for meritorious or emergency reasons, no applications for vacation leave will be entertained or acted upon by his office during the 10-day period,” he said.

As for the 50 more immigration officers temporarily reassigned to the NAIA, Medina said the employees were picked from the main office and the different field, satellite and extension offices of the BI nationwide.

“We have also instructed members of our travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) and border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) to double their vigilance during this critical period,” Medina added.

TCEU and BCIU personnel at the airports assist BI frontline officers in monitoring arriving alien passengers in order to prevent the entry of undesirable aliens into the country.

They also remain on the lookout for suspected human trafficking victims so that the latter are prevented from departing for their foreign destinations.

“We assure the public that we will do our best to foil attempts by these syndicates to take advantage of the holidays in sneaking their victims in or out of the country,” Medina said.-ezc/NewsLine.ph

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