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Foreign pilots, flights crew undergo inspection

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed under routine inspection foreign pilots and crew of international flights upon their arrival and departure.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the new policy is part of the bureau’s efforts to strengthen border security operations and regulate the entry and stay of aliens in the country.

The BI chief said it is also applied to Filipino pilots and attendants of international flights.

Previously, foreign airline crewmen were just allowed to pass through immigration counters in all international airports.

“We have to ensure that these alien crewmen are indeed bona fide employees of the airlines they represent and that they are not included in our blacklist of undesirable or wanted aliens,” the BI chief explained.

He added that the new policy is also consistent with existing international standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Under new guidelines issued by Morente, all crew members of commercial airline flights are required to queue at the designated immigration counter for arrival and departure formalities and present their passport or airline identification card for inspection.

The immigration officer may deny the admission or defer the departure of a crew member, if warranted, such as when the latter is in the blacklist, watchlist or hold departure list of the bureau.

Prior to their arrival or departure from the airport, the airline representative shall submit two copies of the general declaration (Gendec) of the inbound or outbound aircraft. (Jun Ramirez)