Solon seeks to beef up immigration personnel

A LAWMAKER has filed a bill seeking  to increase the number of personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to cope with the ballooning volume of tourists, immigrants and illegal entrants they have to serve and monitor.

Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas (1st District, Davao del Sur), principal author of House Bill 2154, said there are only 1,200 BI personnel and their number is not enough to handle the job of controlling and regulating the immigration of aliens in the country and administering and enforcing alien admission and registration laws.

“The agency has also to man the major ingress and egress points in the country spread across key cities,” Cagas said.

Cagas said the BI could hardly fulfill its daunting mission and the number of its personnel is no match to the almost three million tourists who come to the country each year.

“It is, therefore, a rather unfeasible task for the Bureau to properly enforce immigration laws and regulate the immigration requirements of these aliens,” Cagas stressed.

“The government must strengthen its immigration bureau by increasing the number of its personnel, vis-à-vis its commitment to national integrity through humane, responsive and conscientious control and regulation of foreign migrants,” Cagas said.

Under the bill, the personnel augmentation program will cover a 10-year period once it is enacted into law. In no case shall the increase in the number of complementary offices for the position of immigration officers be less than 500 for the entire phase of the program.

The additional BID personnel shall be properly distributed to all undermanned immigration offices throughout the country, especially to far-flung ports, airports and ports of entry.

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