The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that it has begun the training of 99 newly-recruited immigration officers who will be deployed to the different international airports in anticipation of the complete reopening of the country’s borders following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, a pandemic should not be hindrance to personnel improvement, thus the decision to push through with the training of the new recruits vis-a-vis the observance of minimum health protocols.
The training is mostly done via online virtual lectures, although there will come a time when the trainees will engage in face to face sessions under strict social distancing requirements.
“Keeping our personnel engaged has a wide-range impact on their productivity and morale. In these times of uncertainty and disruption, it is crucial to keep our frontliners mentally and physically healthy,” Morente said.
Morente also disclosed that 33 BI personnel started in June a two-month Military Orientation Training (MOT) conducted by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the headquarters of the 1st Reserve Center in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City.
The 33 employees comprise the pioneer batch of the BI’s 1st Intelligence Security Wing Reserve of the PAF.
According to Morente, the BI is an affiliate reserve unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which ensures the unhampered delivery of service at the borders in times of public emergency.
“This training not only teaches discipline and perseverance, but also underscores the value of patriotism to our employees,” Morente added.
He further lauded Immigration Officers Frederick Lugtu and Romelyn Benavide for being recognized as Leadership and Marksmanship Awardees, respectively.
Meanwhile, Morente said that members of the travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) are also undergoing the TCEU Enhanced Academic Module (TEAM), a two-month long online training designed by the BI’s Center for Training and Research (CTR) to reinforce skills integral to the conduct of secondary inspection at international ports.
Morente further discussed that aside from the usual skills development lectures, the officers will also be receiving the Integrity, Transparency, and Accountability in Public Service (ITAPS) workshop–one of the major corruption prevention programs hosted by the Office of the Ombudsman.
He said this is part of the agency’s continuous effort to eradicate corruption within their agency and to improve their services to the travelling public.
The TCEU members will also be receiving mental health lectures including Behavioral Analysis and Anger and Stress Management courtesy of the Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).
“We are thankful for the support of our partner government agencies in giving lectures that adhere with the changing times. We want our officers to be fully prepared in the field during emergency situations,” Morente said.
“We are anticipating the gradual easing of travel restrictions in the country, given our aggressive vaccination campaign, hence the need to beef up our manpower to be able to serve the traveling public,” said Morente.
The BI chief said that through these trainings, they are “building a culture of excellence aimed at providing genuine public service.”