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BI workers slam misinformation

Rank and file employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) decried the peddling of lies and misinformation to the public on the issue of their overtime pay, the non-payment of which has led to long passenger queues in the immigration counters of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the past several days.

They also debunked reports that there is a concerted effort by them to go on mass leave or absence in protest over the non-payment of their overtime pay.

Members of the BI workers’ union Buklod and Immigration Officers Association of the Philippines (IOAP) asked Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno to be truthful in his statements to media as his recent pronouncements did not only distort facts but have also further demoralized the bureau’s employees.

“Contrary to Sec. Diokno’s assertion that immigration officers are job order (contractual) employees who could easily be replaced, they are actually permanent employees occupying plantilla positions and who enjoy security of tenure protection under our civil service laws,” Buklod and IOAP said in a joint press statement.

The two groups also downplayed Diokno’s claim that some 200 soldiers are already being trained to replace immigration officers who resigned or have gone on leave.

“There is no deliberate or organized effort by our members to paralyze our operations and inconvenience the traveling public. If by coincidence our members are absent or are on sick leaves at the same time, these are forced and caused by their inability to shoulder their expenses in going to work and not because they wanted to abandon their duties,” the groups said.

They stressed that an immigration officer’s job is “very sensitive and critical. (Jun Ramirez)