THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) has formed a group for the immigration processing of foreign delegates from member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who will be arriving in the country to attend various meetings starting this month up to November next year.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente yesterday created a special task group composed of 95 BI officers, duty supervisors and intelligence agents from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports, who will oversee the conduct of the bureau’s affairs during the year-long international event.
Morente directed the task group to ensure that immigration formalities and port courtesies are properly extended to delegates attending the ASEAN meetings, the first meeting to be held from Nov. 5 to 14 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan during the 6th ASEAN Chief Justices’ Round table on Environment.
Aside from conducting immigration formalities on the delegates, Morente also instructed the task group to implement measures that will ensure the safety and security of the delegates during their stay here.
“We have designated special counters at the NAIA where the ASEAN delegates are to be exclusively processed by our immigration officers upon their arrival at the airport,” the BI chief said.
Meanwhile, in compliance with Morente’s instructions the BI’s port operations division (POD) placed all international airports and seaports nationwide on heightened alert in light of the Philippine’s hosting of the ASEAN leaders’ summit in 2017 and its preliminary meetings and activities.
BI-POD acting chief Marc Red Mariñas issued a memorandum directing all immigration inspectors and intelligence operatives in airports and seaports to exercise utmost vigilance in screening arriving passengers and in establishing their real purpose in traveling to the country.
Mariñas said all passengers with doubtful purpose of travel shall be referred for secondary inspection, especially those with questionable travel documents. He also instructed the POD’s intelligence operatives to coordinate with the Interpol and other intelligence agencies in getting a list of personalities and organizations who might undertake terror activities during the ASEAN meetings.