Bureau of Immigration keeping an eye on foreign terrorists
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday announced that it has placed its personnel on heightened alert to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the country.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has already directed the bureau’s officers at international airports and seaports to be “doubly vigilant” in screening arriving foreign travelers, after a deadly bombing incident at a church in Jolo, Sulu, which left at least 2 people dead and at least 100 others wounded.
“Those who cannot satisfactorily explain their purpose in coming here are to be turned back and booked on the first available flight to their port of origin,” Morente said.
The Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Jolo bombing, but local authorities said that the Abu Sayyaf may have been responsible.
Responding to the order of Morente, Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said that he has already directed all officers to be “extra meticulous” in screening foreigners.
“They were reminded to make sure that only aliens who are properly documented and are legitimate travelers with valid reasons in coming here are admitted,” Medina said.
“They were told to be careful in scrutinizing travel documents that are presented to them during primary inspection as it is highly probable that foreign terrorists might attempt to use fake passports and visas to slip into the country,” he added.
The travel control and enforcement unit, and the border control and intelligence unit, were also directed to be extra vigilant.
Local and international intelligence agencies also share their database with the BI to help detect suspected terrorists, Medina said. /gsg
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