No VIP treatment for travelers in all PH airports — Morente

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente on Wednesday ordered its personnel to strictly enforce its policy declaring as off-limits to unauthorized persons its immigration areas in all international airports nationwide and prohibiting the giving of special treatment to passengers.

In a statement, Morente said he has instructed BI port operations division Marc Red Mariñas to relay the said directive to all BI personnel assigned and discipline those who defy the same.

Morente warned that BI employees should desist from escorting or facilitating arriving and departing passengers, either personally or via text messaging or phone calls, for the purpose of expediting the implementation of immigration procedures by officers in the counters.

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The BI chief also reiterated that only BI employees who are on duty, and those who have travel orders, are allowed to be present in or at the premises of any international port entry at any given time.

Morente issued the directive following reports claiming that a well-known businessman, who arrived Monday night from Thailand at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), was seen being escorted by a retired policeman.

The escort allegedly wore a pass from the airport’s pass control office when he met and accompanied the passenger and escorted him up to the immigration counter of the NAIA Terminal 1.

In a video posted on social media, Filipino-Chinese businessman Charlie “Atong” Ang was seen at the arrival area of the NAIA Terminal 1 last July 2 and was assisted upon his arrival.

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Investigation results showed that no immigration officer or BI employee escorted or assisted Ang.

Mariñas said that a certain retired SPO4 Ciriaco Peralta, who was reportedly a media practitioner, assisted Ang at the airport’s immgiration area when he arrived from Thailand.

According to the report, Peralta, who is also working as a Rustan’s retail store staff, approach the border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) on duty informing that he will be assisting Ang.

Morente added that he will ask NAIA general manager Ed Monreal to investigate the incident and take appropriate action to prevent a similar incident in the future.

In compliance with Morente’s directive, Mariñas issued on Tuesday a memorandum warning all BI personnel assigned at the airports to strictly obey the bureau’s “no travel facilitation, no loafing and no loitering” policy.

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Mariñas warned that employees who disobey the directive will be dealt with severely and meted stiff disciplinary actions.

He further instructed the members of the BI-NAIA’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) and BCIU to directly report to his office any violation of the said policy. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)

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