By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) assured the public it has enough manpower at the airports to service passengers who will travel in and out of the country during the Undas break.
BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said there are more than 500 immigration officers currently deployed at the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) which is adequate to cater to the needs of the traveling public.
Medina said these officers are assigned to the airport’s BI counters where all passengers line up to undergo immigration arrival and departure formalities after disembarking from or prior to boarding their flights.
“Our officers have been instructed not to be late or absent for work this peak season, they should not go on leave until after the Halloween break,” Medina said.
Statistics revealed that passenger volume at the NAIA usually increases by an average of six percent to ten percent during the annual Undas break.
BI-NAIA officials said that based on previous years’ statistics, they expect the number of passengers at the airport next week to balloon to more than half a million, compared to the 493,000 who arrived and departed from the premiere port in the same period last year.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, meanwhile, appealed to the public for patience and understanding if they experience or are inconvenienced by long queues, saying it is inevitable especially when flights carrying big number of passengers arrived or depart simultaneously at the airport.
“I have directed our immigration supervisors to see to it that all our counters are manned to ensure and all maximum personnel are deployed to ensure uninterrupted service to the traveling public,” Morente said.
Earlier, the BI chief placed its personnel in the different ports on heightened alert to ensure that the country’s border security is not compromised amid the influx of passengers during the Undas season.