The Bureau of Immigration launched two electronic E-gates at the Davao International Airport and three at Mactan International Airport which are expected to cut the processing time of passengers from the present 45 seconds to just 8 to 15 seconds.
BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said similar E-Gates would be installed in the airports of Clark and Kalibo before the year ends, so that with the onset of the peak travel season the project would be operational in all of the country’s five major ports of entry.
“We are targeting to make the E-Gates operational in these major ports before the Christmas and New Year, when we expect to process a huge influx of traveling passengers,” Medina said.
During its initial stages, only Filipino passengers with machine-readable passports may use the E-Gates.
Children, senior citizens, and handicapped travelers, on the other hand, will be processed at a separate priority lane.
The E-Gates project was initially launched and pilot-tested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport three months ago as part of the BI’s continuous effort to facilitate the expeditious processing and reduce the long queues of travelers at the airports.
Aside from faster processing, the E-Gate project also aims to bolster the BI’s ability to pinpoint or detect travelers with derogatory records, wanted fugitives, and those who are subjects of blacklists and hold departure orders.
The E-Gates are equipped with modern security features, including facial recognition, biometric scanning, barcode reading, and smart card recognition all rolled into one.
Immigration commissioner Jaime Morente welcomed the launching of the E-Gate project in Mactan and Davao, saying it will help the BI address the perennial problem of long passenger queues at the airports especially during the Yuletide season.
“This project really prioritizes Filipinos, to ensure fast and smooth processing of our kababayans so they have more time to be with their families,” he added.