THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) is looking at strengthening its immigration monitoring capabilities south of the Philippines.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said they are looking at bolstering their offices, particularly in border crossing stations in Mindanao. The immigration chief said priority areas include the Taganak station near the Sulu Sea, and the Bongao station near the Celebes Sea.
These two stations have been identified as priority areas in IT systems upgrade and infrastructure improvement for the bureau.
The BI’s Bay Service Section Chief Alzanib Decampong said they have made on-site visits and studies and are ready with their recommendations for the specific needs of the offices.
“It is necessary that we strengthen immigration monitoring in these border crossing stations,” says Decampong. “We see these areas as upcoming major trade and travel hubs in the next few decades,” he added.
Strengthening the stations, Decampong emphasized, would also help improve the agency’s inspection capabilities and combat the possible entry of illegal aliens, including foreign terrorists.
The fielding of additional BI personnel to the areas, apart from IT and infrastructure improvement, Morente said, is also being eyed by the bureau.
“We have increased the number of BI personnel in these areas, but are looking into maximizing our numbers so as to better implement our mandate,” explains Morente.
He added that plans are also in the pipeline for the BI to expand the implementation of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to the southern region.