BI mulling AI-powered immigration process | Inquirer News

BI mulling AI-powered immigration process

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 01:20 PM September 27, 2023

The Bureau of Immigration is considering using AI

FILE PHOTO: Passengers form a line at the Bureau of Immigration counters in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on April 10, 2017. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — The government is exploring utilizing artificial intelligence or AI in immigration processes.

According to the Bureau of Immigration (BI), tapping AI is being considered as part of its modernization initiatives, which they plan to implement by 2024 or 2025.


“Iyan ang ultimate objective natin, na mahabol natin ang technology being used by other countries. Ngayon kasi manual pa tayo,” said BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.


(That is our ultimate objective, that we catch up with the technology being used by other countries. Because now, we are still on manual.)

READ: Bureau of Immigration modernization bill approved on third reading in House

“For example in Vancouver, Canada, wala na pong immigration [counters] sa departure. So from check-in counter diretso na po ang pasahero sa boarding gate,” he also said.

(For example in Vancouver, Canada, no more immigration [counters] at departure. So, from the check-in counter, the passenger goes directly to the boarding gate.)

Tansingco explained that using such a technology does not mean that AI immigration officers will screen passengers.

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He said they think of passengers simply passing through a machine where their passports will be scanned and verified automatically.

This way, he noted, immigration screening will reduce face-to-face interactions between passengers and officers, which may prevent dishonest employees from doing illegal acts.

“Lesser na ang interaction between passengers and immigration officers, so lesser na ang opportunity for corruption,” Tansingco stressed.

(The interaction between passengers and immigration officers is less, so the opportunity for corruption is less.)

He likewise assured immigration officers that the AI would not displace them as they would only be reassigned to other positions should the program push through.

Besides, he pointed out, other tasks need to be done inside the airport aside from screening passengers – such as administrative work and processing of permits.

But he also disclosed that BI may not likely employ new plantilla positions for immigration officers if the AI program is implemented.

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TAGS: artificial intelligence, Bureau of Immigration, Immigration

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