Holy Week rush: Travellers, bus companies admonished

The Bureau of Immigration on Sunday urged overseas-bound travelers to check in at least three hours before their flight to avoid congestion this Lenten season.

Holy Week rush: Travellers, bus companies admonished
Catholic devotees wave their palm fronds during Palm Sunday celebrations at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto church in Bulacan, north of Manila on April 14. AFP
NAIA-BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said that while the queues in the immigration counters could not be avoided due to the surge in the number of travelers during Holy Week, they “are prepared and expect queuing time to significantly decrease as compared to the previous years.”

He made his statement even as the National Capital Region Police Office advised the bus companies and their staff to show only wholesome films on board provincial buses so as not to scandalize parents and children traveling this Holy Week.

It is common practice for the bus staff to play local and foreign movies to keep the passengers entertained during a long trip.

However, it has been observed that some of the movies played during these long trips are not for general patronage.

Medina recommended that passengers check in at least three hours before their flight and go straight to immigration for clearance. 

He said travelers who check in early but delay immigration clearance until the last minute were adding to the congestion in the immigration area.

Medina urged foreign tourists who have stayed in the country for more than six months to secure and pay their clearance certificates in any of the bureau’s district, field, satellite and extension offices nationwide.

He said foreigners with ACR I-Cards permanently living, working or studying in the Philippines may secure their reentry permits in other BI Offices before going to the airports. 

Holy Week rush: Travellers, bus companies admonished
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle blesses palm fronds in front of the Manila Cathedral on Sunday, April 14. Palm Sunday for Roman Catholic devotees symbolizes the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem on the week He was crucified. Norman Cruz
He said securing their required permits early “will decrease queuing time in half, because they will not have to line up at the cashier anymore”. 

Medina also reminded Filipino government officials and employees to ensure they had the required authority to travel abroad from their respective department heads.  

He also advised adults traveling abroad with minors unaccompanied by parents to make sure that the latter had the required clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Despite the holiday rush, Medina said, Immigration had enough manpower deployed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to serve the traveling public during the Lenten break.

He said a total of 57 immigration officers assigned in other BI offices were temporarily assigned to the NAIA to augment the bureau’s manpower and minimize the long queues at the premiere port. With PNA

Topics: Grifton Medina , Lenten Break , Holy Week , National Capital Region Police Office , Department of Social Welfare and Development
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