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BI moves vs VIP escorts at airports

By: Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) ordered yesterday its personnel to strictly enforce its policy declaring as off-limits to unauthorized persons its immigration areas in all the international airports nationwide and prohibiting the giving of VIP treatment to passengers.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has instructed BI port operations division Marc Red Mariñas to relay the said directive to all BI personnel assigned and discipline those who defy the same.

Morente warned that BI employees should desist from escorting or facilitating arriving and departing passengers, either personally or via text messaging or phone calls, for the purpose of expediting the conduct of immigration formalities by immigration officers in the counters.

The BI chief also reiterated that only BI employees who are on duty, and those who have travel orders, are allowed to be present in or at the premises of any international port entry at any given time.

Morente said he issued the directive after reports reached him that a well-known personality, who arrived Monday night from Bangkok at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), was seen being escorted by a retired policeman.

The said escort allegedly wore a pass from the airport’s pass control office when he met and accompanied the passenger and escorted him up to the immigration counter of the NAIA 1 terminal.

Morente added that he will ask MIAA general manager Ed Monreal to investigate the incident and take appropriate action to prevent its recurrence in the future.

In compliance with Morente’s directive, Mariñas issued on Tuesday a memorandum warning all BI personnel assigned at the airports to strictly obey the bureau’s “no travel facilitation, no loafing and no loitering” policy.

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