Cell phones banned at airports for BI officers
MANILA, Philippines—Bureau of Immigration (BI) employees stationed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other international airports in the country are prohibited from using their mobile phones while on duty.
BI officer in charge Siegfred Mison issued the ban on the use of cell phones by immigration personnel in airports as part of the agency’s efforts to combat corruption among its employees.
Mison explained that the move was meant to prevent immigration agents from engaging in dubious and corrupt activities. He cited previous instances wherein immigration officers were captured on CCTV cameras using cell phones to coordinate the entry of blacklisted aliens or the exit of human trafficking victims and foreign fugitives.
“In most of these instances, immigration officers were seen using their phones in talking with their cohorts and the passengers,” said the BI chief.
Mison said the prohibition applied to all immigration officers assigned to the airports’ arrival and departure counters whose primary task was to conduct immigration formalities on thousands of visitors entering and exiting the country daily.
Also covered by the ban were team leaders of the bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit as well as acting immigration officers and confidential agents assigned at the Filipino counters, added Mison.
Under the new rule, employees will have to deposit their mobile phones in their lockers or surrender them to their supervisors for temporary custody. If they need to make an emergency call or text message, they can do so through the phones officially used by the employees’ duty supervisors.
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