FOR a month now all of the more than 800 Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel assigned in the different international airports nationwide are free of the COVID-19 virus.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Lawyer Carlos Capulong said that since Feb. 22 there has been no report of any personnel assigned at the airport who was infected by COVID-19.
Capulong said that as a result of the continued zero COVID-19 cases among BI officers at the frontlines, the bureau has been able to render better services to the traveling public.
He recalled that at the height of the Omicron surge last January, hundreds of immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) contracted the virus, thus sharply depleting the number of BI personnel at the premiere port.
Capulong, however, reported that as the BI braced for the reopening of the country’s borders to foreign leisure travelers last Feb. 10, the number of Covid-infected BI personnel at the airports started to dwindle.
“Thanks to the high vaccination rate among our port personnel, we were able to beat the virus in time for the reopening,” he said.
Presently, Capulong said the BI is operating at full capacity at the airport amid the continuing increase in the number of international travelers that arrive and depart from the country daily.
“We are now posting an average volume of 9,000 to 10,000 arriving passengers daily. Before Feb. 10 the average was only around 5,000,” he added.
There are a total of 846 immigration officers and job order employees assigned at the BI-POD, 622 of whom are reporting for duty at the NAIA. The rest are assigned in the other ports such as Mactan, Clark, and Davao.