BUREAU of Immigration (BI) officers assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other major airports have been prohibited from going on leave during and after the Holy Week to ensure adequate personnel are on hand to serve the traveling public during the Lenten break.
In a memorandum, BI Port Operations Division Atty. Carlos Capulong said all applications for vacation leave for the period April 7 until April 15 are deemed disapproved.
Also canceled are applications for authority to travel abroad by any BI employee assigned at the airports.
Capulong said the directive, which was affirmed by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, was issued in anticipation of the influx and exodus of large numbers of international travelers that usually happen during the Lenten season.
“Normally, there is always a rise in the volume of arriving passengers before the Holy Week and increase in [the] number of departing passengers after the Lenten break,” Capulong said.
He explained it is imperative that the BI continues to operate at “full” work capacity at the airports, or its services to the passenger public will be compromised.
Capulong also observed that the number of arriving passengers at the international ports continued to climb steadily since the country opened its borders to foreign tourists last month.
Aside from the NAIA, international flights are also served at the airports in Mactan, Clark, and Davao.
Statistics show that passenger arrivals at the airports are now averaging between 13,000 to 15,000 daily since a week ago, compared to only 6,000 to 9,000 a month ago.
Last April 1, the government decided to open the country to all foreign nationals, provided they comply with immigration entry requirements and prescribed health protocols.