The Bureau of Immigration will hire new personnel to man rebel-infested seaports and stations in Mindanao to help thwart the entry of illegal aliens, including foreign terrorists, via the backdoor.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that a total of 36 immigration border crossing officers will be hired for deployment to six border crossing stations operated by the BI in Mindanao and Palawan.
These stations are located in the ports of Brooke’s Point and Balabac in Palawan; Tibanban, Davao Oriental; Batuganding, Davao del Sur; and the islands of Taganak and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
Foreigners who enter and exit the country via these ports are mostly Malaysians and Indonesians, who are engaged in barter, fishing and other commercial trading activities.
Morente said each of these ports will be manned by six additional border crossing officers who will monitor and board and inspect travelers aboard sea crafts that regularly cross the country’s borders with Malaysia and Indonesia.
They are also mandated to coordinate with elements of other law enforcement units in their areas, such as the Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and PNP Maritime Group, in the discharge of their duties as border control officers of the government.
“Consequently, aside from thwarting the entry of suspected foreign terrorists, these officers are also tasked to monitor and report on the activities of and apprehend human traffickers and illegal recruiters who smuggle their victims in or out of the country via the backdoor.
BI Port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas said the need to beef up manpower of the BI’s border crossing stations in the South has become imperative due to the reported entry of foreign jihadists who had linked up with local terrorist groups.
“We are also planning to assign to the South intelligence operatives from our border control intelligence unit (BCIU) who will assist our border crossing officers in securing our backdoor against the entry of illegal and undesirable aliens,” Mariñas said.
He added that he already proposed to Morente the hiring of contractual employees, with previous experience in intelligence and law enforcement work, to the BCIU so that they may be deployed to other ports that need their services.