Bong Go

Bong Go renews push for modernization of the BI

April 12, 2023 People's Journal 377 views

SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has reiterated the need for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1185, or the proposed “Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act”, which aims to improve the immigration services of the country by upgrading the BI’s systems, facilities, and personnel.

This, following issues of alleged corruption and inefficiency which have led to various incidents of offloading of particularly overseas Filipino workers.

“We need to modernize our BI to address the long-standing issues of corruption, inefficiency, and offloading that have plagued the agency,” said Go.

“We must provide a more efficient and effective service to the public, especially to our OFWs and foreign tourists who contribute significantly to the country’s economy,” he added.

Previously, Go strongly condemned an incident where a BI officer was alleged to have extorted money from OFW JC Manganti who was prevented from boarding a flight to France despite having complete documents on August 7 last year.

Manganti reported the incident to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco and presented text messages from the BI officer asking for Php150,000 in exchange for an escort service.

“While we recognize the hard work and dedication of many of our government employees, we cannot tolerate those who abuse their power and betray the trust of our kababayans,” said Go.

“Swift action must be taken to hold the erring officer accountable and to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Managot ang dapat managot. Huwag natin hayaan ang mga nang-aabuso,” he added.

Go said his proposed measure can help address the long-standing issues faced by the BI as it aims to streamline the agency’s processes, reduce bureaucratic red tape, and provide a more efficient and effective service to the public.

Under the proposed bill, existing positions of the officials and employees of the BI will be upgraded to meet the country’s rapidly increasing immigration services. The creation of new positions under the bill, would also boost the productivity and efficiency of the bureau.

If passed into law, an upgrade of their salary grades is also indicated in the bill to provide proper compensation commensurate to their profession, considering the changing times.

“Kung sakaling maisabatas ang panukalang ito, mas mapapabuti rin natin ang compensation scheme ng mga nagtatrabaho sa ahensya. Mas maiiwasan ang katiwalian, mas mabibigyan sila ng kapasidad na pagbutihin pa ang kanilang trabaho,” Go explained.

If passed into law, the bill will also authorize the BI Board of Commissioners to retain and use every year 30% of its collections from immigration fees, fines and penalties, and other income that may be collected by the bureau to implement the measure and support its modernization efforts. An Immigration Trust Fund may also be created and sourced from the collections.

“Hindi dapat tayo papayag na ang ating mga kababayan ay magdusa dahil sa iilang tiwaling empleyado ng gobyerno na nang bibiktima sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mga modus na ito,” previously said Go.

“Panahon na upang masiguro na magiging ligtas at maayos ang paglalakbay ng bawat Pilipino sa kahit anong airport sa bansa,” he added.

Go is also a staunch supporter of the welfare of OFWs. He played a pivotal role in the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers through Republic Act No. 11641, which he co-authored and co-sponsored.