BI answers 120,000 queries on int’l travel restriction caused by COVID-19 in 2020

Published January 14, 2021, 1:10 PM

by Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said queries about international travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 have more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the BI National Operations Center (BINOC) attended and answered some 120,000 queries received via hotlines, email, and social media.

The BI chief said the number of queries rose by about 141 percent compared to the 2019 total.

According to the BI chief, the bulk of the queries were received after the country was placed on lockdown starting in March in a bid to minimize the spread of the deadly disease.

Morente said most of the queries were sent via emails.
Acting BINOC chief Djamina Diampuan also reported that aside from travel requirements, her office also responded to queries regarding other transactions and services offered by the BI.

Apart from the BI’s hotlines, the commissioner’s office also maintains a direct portal on Facebook called Immigration Helpline PH.

“For concerns and reports, we maintain a helpline page and reports from this go directly to my office,” Morente said.

For the past two years, the BI was one of the recipients of the Freedom of Information (FOI) compliant award from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for excellence in giving the public access to information about its programs and services.