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Saturday, April 13, 2024

BI airport staff not allowed to go on leave during holidays

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BUREAU of Immigration (BI) personnel are not allowed to take a leave starting next week until the end of the Christmas Season to ensure smooth operations to cope with the expected influx of travelers until the holidays are over.

Additionally, the BI employees at the airports are banned from greeting “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” to the plane passengers.

“Starting next week, immigration officers at the international airports are not allowed to file a leave to maximize our workforce because we are expecting a lot of travelers,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said during a breakfast forum.

“At least 55 new Immigration officers who will be graduating from the Philippine Immigration Academy  will be deployed immediately to augment our personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” he said.

The no-leave policy aims to avert long queues at the airports before and after the Christmas and New Year holidays when there is a traditional  significant increase in the number of inbound and outbound passengers.

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He said they are expecting at least four million passengers to arrive at the NAIA this year, from both balikbayans and foreigners who will celebrate  the holiday season in the Philippines.

“This is the time of every year when the services of our I

mmigration inspectors are most needed in the airports. Thus, in the exigency of the service, we have to make a sacrifice to serve the traveling public,” Tansingco added.

Meanwhile, the BI chief said homecoming Filipino balikbayans and foreign visitors to the Philippines may get smiles from airport immigration officials, but they shouldn’t expect to hear “Merry Christmas.”

Tansingco  said BI officers at immigration  counters are banned from offering Christmas greetings because they may be misconstrued as soliciting gifts or cash.

Christmas greetings is a tradition in the Philippines for children to offer Christmas wishes to solicit gifts from godparents and relatives.

However, the practice was copied by corrupt officials who sometimes use it as a code for extortion requests.

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