Thee Bureau of Immigration (BI) has assured the thousands of returning Filipinos of continued and uninterrupted service at the country’s International airports amid the persisting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said adequate manpower has been deployed to process the papers of repatriated Filipino passengers.
The BI chief made the assurance after Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. described the exodus as the biggest in the country’s history.
Records showed that more than one million Filipinos, mostly displaced overseas contract workers or overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), have returned home since the start of the pandemic last year.
The previous mass repatriation of some 30,000 Filipinos occured when the Gulf War broke out in the Middle East in 1991.
BI port operations chief Carlos Capulong said there has been a sharp increase in the arrival of our countrymen since the government allowed the repatriation of Filipinos stranded abroad due to the health crisis.
He said they continue to operate at full capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) despite the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
“Despite the health risks, our immigration officers at international ports are reporting for duty to ensure that our services to the traveling public are not interrupted,” he added.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Director Rolly Francia said last Friday that over 646,000 displaced OFWs have been repatriated to the country since last year.