BI ready for reopening of borders to foreign tourists
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said it is ready for the reopening of the country’s borders to international tourists amid the continuing decline in COVID-19 cases and easing of the pandemic restrictions.
“Our frontline officers at the airports are ready and prepared, and we assure the traveling public of uninterrupted service should they decide to travel to the Philippines,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
This assurance came after the presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the country will accept international tourists “in due time.”
“Should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and the Office of the President see that the country is ready, we will be happy to welcome again foreign tourists to our shores,” said Morente.
The commissioner, however, bared that the manpower of the BI would need to be increased should international travel resume to normal, however, he also assured that the bureau has already put in place a response plan to address manpower needs.
According to BI Acting Port Operations Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong, the BI’s recently adopted rapid response mechanism called for the mobilization of BI personnel assigned to the other operating units of his division to perform primary inspection, and supervisory duties during times of heavy influx of passengers.
He also bared that the bureau is awaiting the appointments from the Department of Justice of the much-needed 195 new immigration officers who will be hired and later deployed in and outside of Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, the BI earlier reported a 72% drop in international arrivals during the first three quarters of 2021 as compared to the same period last year.
The country is currently experiencing a downtrend in COVID-19 cases, with active infections at 32,077.
Total confirmed cases, on the other hand, are currently at 2,805,294, recoveries at 2,728,696 and death toll at 44,521.
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