BI on heightened alert for 30th SEA Games, holiday season
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed its men on heightened alert amid the expected influx of passengers for the upcoming South East Asian Games (SEA Games) and the holiday season.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said they are expecting around 8,000 delegates including athletes, media, technical officials, volunteers, fans, and audiences for the SEA Games, which will begin on November 30.
Aside from the SEA Games, the bureau is also bracing itself for the upcoming Christmas season, with arrivals and departures expected to increase by up to three percent.
“We are certain that there will be more tourists and balikbayans who will be flying in this Christmas,” Morente said in a statement.
“Christmas is probably the biggest and most anticipated holiday for our kababayan, hence it’s really part of the Filipino culture to want to be home for the holidays,” he added.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina, meanwhile, said the bureau is enforcing a “No Leave, No Absences” policy for its employees during the SEA Games and holiday season.
Data from BI shows that more than 1.5 million passengers arrived in the country, while more than 1.2 million departed in December 2018.
“Our men have been instructed not to go on leave during the peak season to maximize our manpower,” Medina said.
Likewise, passengers are once again advised to arrive at least three hours before their flights and to remain patient for possible line queues.
Medina said the recent video of long queues at the Mactan Cebu International Airport was an “isolated incident”, explaining that build-ups happen when delayed flights arrive simultaneously.
“We appeal to everyone to bear with us should there be some build-up, which sometimes happens during peak seasons. But you can be assured that processing is now much faster following the numerous improvements we have implemented in our international ports,” Medina said.
The bureau, nevertheless, assured that measures are in place to improve passenger experience in airports.
Edited by KGA
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