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Immigration chief vows modernized BI services

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Newly installed Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman G. Tansingco vowed to implement many reforms to improve the services of the bureau.

Tansingco, who took his oath of office before Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday, said: “We are looking at ways to modernize the bureau, both in terms of technologies and of services.”

Upon assumption, he conducted ocular inspections at BI’s main office and at its frontline operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Tansingco is the first appointed Commissioner that came from the ranks. He worked at the BI from 2007 to 2017, holding several key posts including Chief of Staff and technical assistant of the Office of the Commissioner, and as a lawyer of the BI Board of Special Inquiry.

He is a certified public accountant and was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1991.

“We are looking into ways of modernizing the Bureau through e-services and man-less transactions. Not only will this raise the level of the agency, but it will also serve as a major deterrent for illicit activities by removing opportunities for corruption,” said Tansingco.

“We will also be pushing for the new immigration law that will update the 82-year-old Philippine immigration act to ensure that we adapt to modern times,” he added.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives committee on justice has approved consolidated bill proposing P1.2 billion for the Bureau’s Immigration Trust Fund (ITF) to “modernize this agency, touch up its pay scales, and further professionalize its officers plus rank and file.”

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, principal author of the measure, welcomed the bill’s approval at the committee level.

Vito Barcelo and Maricel Cruz

He said the consolidated bill on the proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act aims to modernize the BI by expanding its organizational structure, sharpening the competencies of its personnel through career advancement programs, cutting red tape by improving data gathering and analysis, and boosting employee morale through a better, more competitive salary structure.”

“This consolidated bill seeks to empower the bureau to collect immigration fees, fines and penalties, and to retain a third of all such collections—but not to exceed P1.2 billion—for an ITF to be administered by the proposed three-member Board of Commissioners,” said Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party (NUP).


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