Around 800 personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have been affected by a total revamp which took effect on Thursday.
“There are (almost) 800 personnel. For chiefs, all were replaced, except Chief of Port Operations Division as this will be decided by the Secretary of Justice. For frontline personnel, (there was a) reshuffle (in) shift and terminal to stop any collusion that may still be in place among officers,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a text message.
She added that the revamp was announced by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente as part of continuing reforms and transformation efforts within the bureau.
In a press statement, Morente said the personnel movements are in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to revamp the bureau as necessary.
He added that the practice of rotating and changing assignments on a regular and programmed basis is both a method to enable better performance and encourage skill upgrades and a precaution against graft and corruption.
“These changes in management responsibilities and section assignments in our airports are part of the ongoing actions that are being taken to address the recent resurgence of unauthorized activities and irregularities, as major steps have already been made to address these issues since 2016. These irregularities and their consequences impact on morale and detract from the professionalism and service that the men and women of the Bureau of Immigration are pledged to provide,” he added.
The BI has already activated new protocols in the conduct of secondary inspections in open areas for transparency, as well as the installation of additional closed-circuit television cameras in all areas of primary inspectors.
A total of 19 BI personnel have been relieved from their posts as ordered by Duterte due to their supposed involvement in the ‘pastillas scheme’ at the airport.
The racket was exposed by Senator Risa Hontiveros where immigration personnel at the airport allegedly received money from Chinese nationals for their seamless entry into the country. (PNA)