BI workforce on standby for the resumption of flights

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DAVAO CITY — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other international ports are on standby for the resumption of flights to the Philippines later this week.

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, Immigration Officers assigned at the airports still continue to render full-time duties despite the suspension of inbound commercial passenger flights.

“Our officers continue to work on skeletal deployment as their services are still needed to process other types of flights that are not covered by the suspension,” Morente said.

Morente explained that aside from conducting immigration inspection and boarding formalities for international passengers, BI officers are also mandated to process the pilots and crew of cargo, maintenance, and utility flights that enter and leave the country. Records show that around 50 cargo planes fly in and out of NAIA in the past days.

“These pilots and crew are all subject to routine immigration processing and inspection, be they foreigners or Filipinos,” the BI chief added. He also noted that sweeper flights, or outbound flights carrying foreigners back to their home countries, as well as medical flights, are also exempted from the suspension, thus BI officers remain on standby to attend to these special flights.

“We have not further decreased our manpower as this is a temporary measure by the government to decongest quarantine facilities in Metro Manila,” said Morente.

“We understand that the ports are to be reopened once this goal has been achieved, and we are ready for that,” he added. Morente shared that seaport operations likewise remain operational for arriving cruise and cargo vessels.

“These vessels carry many Filipino seafarers that wish to return home, hence we are also duty-bound to continue operations in our seaports,” he stated.

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