Bacolod asks BI to service chartered flightsBy Carla P. Gomez |Inquirer Visayas
BACOLOD CITY—City officials are asking the immigration bureau to reconsider its decision denying the city government’s request for immigration services for chartered flights from Korea to the Bacolod-Silay Airport in January and February.
Immigration chief Ricardo David, in a letter to Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Dec. 28, denied the request, citing lack of manpower and equipment.
David instead suggested that flights from Korea be diverted to the Iloilo Airport where immigration services are available.
Flights by airline Zest Air from Korea to the Bacolod-Silay International Airport are planned until Feb. 7. These carry tour groups from Korea.
Local governments in Negros Occidental have been trying to boost the province’s tourism industry as an alternative source of livelihood and to complement the sugar industry.
In his letter to David, Leonardia said that for tourism to boom in Negros Occidental, the Bacolod-Silay Airport should start handling international flights as soon as possible.
The mayor asked David to assign two of the seven immigration officers currently assigned to the Iloilo Airport to the Bacolod-Silay Airport at least during the duration of the chartered flights by Zest Air.
The mayor said the Department of Tourism in Iloilo has volunteered to lend Bacolod-Silay Airport computers with programs capable of reading passports.