The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has generated more than P3 billion in revenues during the first half of the year despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the bureau’s collection of immigration fees from January to June totaled P3.14 billion, which is 39-percent lower than the P4.3 billion take it raised for same period last year.
“We still consider this as a significant accomplishment considering that even amidst the pandemic we are just 50 percent short of attaining our target of P6.1 billion for 2020,” Morente said in a statement.
The BI chief said the agency’s collections would have already reached record levels at this time without the pandemic which forced the agency to suspend services and scale down operations.
He also cited the 95-percent drop in the number of local and foreign travellers who entered and exited the country which led to a tremendous decline in the volume of travellers.
Morente, nonetheless, said the BI is optimistic that it will hit its collection target by the end of the year as the government adopts less restrictive quarantine measures.
“We are seeing resurgence in the number of people transacting in our offices and as the economy slowly reopens and travel restrictions are eased in the coming months,” he added.
BI financial management chief Judith Ferrera reported that prior to the pandemic the bureau was poised to post another record high collection this year.
She said that in January and February the BI’s total collection already stood at nearly P1.8 billion but revenues suddenly dropped to P481 million in March when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine.