The enactment by Congress of a new immigration law replacing the 80-year-old one is now in sight as President Duterte and an influential senator have agreed to support the bill.
Previous attempts by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to scrap the outmoded Philippine Immigration Act had failed due to lack of support from congressional leaders.
“I have personally reported to the President the challenges we are facing and I am thankful that he reiterated his support to modernize the service,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.
The BI chief said that Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, principal author of the bill, told him that he will work with his colleagues to pass the measure.
Morente said it is about time to change the outmoded rules and regulations to correct problems plaguing the agency, like graft and corruption.
Among others, the measure calls for salary upgrade of workers and imposition of stiffer fines and penalties against immigration offenders.
It will also grant the commissioner the authority to recruit employees and dismiss undesirables which power lies with the Department of Justice, the mother unit of the BI, under the current law.