Longtime ‘barrier’ at Naia finally coming down for Chinese visitors
There should be no more reason for miscommunication between Chinese tourists and immigration officers at the airport.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has hired 12 Chinese-speaking interpreters to assist immigration officers dealing with Chinese passengers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
BI commissioner Jaime Morente said the translators were hired as contractual employees last week.
The interpreters will be assisting immigration officers in asking questions or interviewing Chinese passengers at Naia’s immigration arrival and departure areas.
“We were able to eliminate the language barrier which has been a source of misunderstanding and miscommunication between our immigration officers and Chinese travelers for years,” he said.
The interpreters have been reporting for duty in their assigned shifts at the immigration offices of the three Naia terminals.
The BI required the interpreters to be natural-born Filipino citizens, 40 years old and below, proficient in Mandarin, and knowledgeable in other Chinese dialects such as Cantonese, Hakka, Wu, Min, Xiang, Gan, etc. Applicants should have also worked as an interpreter for at least a year.
Morente explained that with the help of the interpreters, immigration officers can now easily perform their tasks in screening and assessing Chinese passengers before they are allowed into the country.
Immigration officers can now easily determine if an arriving Chinese tourist should be denied entry, depending on how the latter answers questions about their reason for traveling to the Philippines.
Data from the BI showed that of the 1,938 aliens who were denied entry at Naia for the first half of the year, 676 or about 35 percent were Chinese nationals.
The BI denied the aliens entry due to their failure to explain the purpose of their travel to the the country, while others were improperly documented or were in the BI’s derogatory list.
The hiring of the Chinese-speaking interpreters was made upon the request of immigration officers and immigration supervisors at Naia, who found it hard to speak with Chinese nationals who cannot speak English.
BI port operations division acting chief Marc Red Marinas said airline companies failed to hire their own interpreters who could help their Chinese passengers communicate with immigration officers.