Immigration bureau to expand Interpol system all over PH
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Wednesday that it will expand its International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) systems to other satellite offices nationwide.
This came after a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC), where the BI agreed to install the Interpol Global Communication System (I-24/7) in all BI offices — including seaports and field offices.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente explained that the BI signed the said MOA to continue direct access to the I-24/7 at international airports and seaports and extend connectivity to BI offices that accept and process visa applications, permits, and other similar transactions from foreign nationals.
“Since being granted direct access to the Interpol’s system in 2015, I am convinced that this agreement has helped the BI in hunting down foreign criminals who are attempting to make our country their hideout,” Morente said in a statement.
“I am confident that the expansion of the system to satellite and field offices will immensely contribute to the apprehension and deportation of undesirable aliens, ” he added.
Access to the system was initially limited to BI personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Clark International Airport, Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Subic International Airport, Cagayan North International Airport, and Zamboanga International Airport.
According to Morente, the BI-Interpol lateral coordination had already led to the arrest of foreigners and fugitives involved in transnational criminal activities.
“The use of the I-24/7 was limited to screening passengers at the international ports,” said Morente.
“We see this as an effective tool in intercepting undesirable aliens, hence we sought expansion of its use,” he added.
Morente also related the move to the BI’s implementation of Executive Order 122 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on the adoption of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).
BI APIS Operations Center Chief Melvin Mabulac said that the Interpol database will serve as part of the country’s advanced security vetting of incoming foreign nationals.
According to the BI, it had yielded the arrest of almost 2,500 foreigners since 2016 — all of whom were found to be undocumented, working without the necessary visas, and were international fugitives hiding in the Philippines.
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