BI ‘on alert’ amid international terror threats
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday assured that it has already alerted all its personnel in the country’s ports to thwart any attempts by international terrorists to enter the country.
This came after the Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Monday warned its citizens of increased risks of terror attacks, like suicide bombings, in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.
“Our personnel in all international airports and seaports nationwide are always on alert to prevent these foreign terrorists from slipping into the country,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
The BI chief added that immigration officers are also extra cautious in allowing the entry of foreign nationals with doubtful purpose. Foreigners who potentially pose a threat to public safety, said Morente, are subjected to secondary inspection.
“Those who fail to satisfactorily explain their purpose in coming are turned away and booked on the first available flight back to their port of origin,” Morente explained.
Morente also said that the BI maintains a database of suspected international terrorists, and any attempt by them to enter the Philippines will be foiled by immigration inspectors at the port of entry.
“We have a shared database with numerous local and international intelligence agencies including the Interpol. This database and other derogatory files are integrated into the electronic system, regularly updated, and [are] used by our immigration officers in processing and conducting arrival formalities for passengers, thus allowing us to detect such attempts,” said Morente.
Entry of foreigners also remains restricted due to travel bans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that the Philippines is already on heightened alert as it called on the public to report suspicious individuals and activities to authorities.
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