Public told: Expect longer queues at Naia as holiday season nears

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As the holiday season nears, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) asked the public to expect longer lines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia)’s immigration counters.

Immigration chief Jaime Morente said there will be longer queues at the Naia’s immigration counters starting November as passenger volume is expected to increase before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and the yuletide season.

And to avoid inconvenience, Morente ordered all BI personnel at the NAIA and all other ports not to go on leave from Oct. 28, 2017 to Jan. 15, 2018 to ensure the uninterrupted flow of passengers into and out of the country.

In a statement, Morente said that “these long queues will move faster and won’t inconvenience passengers if the immigration officers manning our booths at the airports are in full attendance.”

“What we are trying to avoid here are those exhausting long queues that could inconvenience passengers while awaiting the conduct of immigration boarding formalities in our counters at the airports.”

BI port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas, on the other hand, said that the peak travel season appears to have already started at the Naia as there has been a noticeable increase in passenger arrivals and departures in the past several days.

Mariñas said the division had already warned BI personnel who are always absent that they could be “administratively charged for habitual absenteeism if they don’t mend their ways.”

He pointed out that under civil services, habitual absenteeism is a grave offense punishable with six-month suspension or dismissal from the service.

The Naia would be busy starting November because of the following holidays and events: the All Saints Day and the All Souls Day; the Asean Leaders’ Summit and related meetings in November; and the Christmas Season.

Mariñas also disclosed that he had already directed members of the BI’s border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) at the Naia and other airports to be on heightened alert as international terrorists and other undesirable aliens might take advantage of the Asean Summit meetings and the holidays to sneak into the country.

The BCIU operatives were also asked to be vigilant in detecting and stopping attempts by human traffickers to smuggle their victims out of the country, Mariñas said. –


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