Sep 092013

Immigration personnel assigned to the country’s airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, will now be banned from using mobile phones while on duty.

Bureau of Immigration OIC Siegfred Mison said this move seeks to lessen the opportunities for chances of BI officials engaging in activities like human trafficking and human smuggling.

Mison, in a news release, cited recent incidents where BI officers were caught on surveillance cameras facilitating the entry of blacklisted aliens and exit of human trafficking victims and foreign fugitives.

“In most of these instances, the immigration officers were seen using their phones in talking with their cohorts and the passengers,” he said.

Under the new policy, BI employees assigned to airports will have to deposit their cell phones in pigeon-type lockers or with their supervisors for temporary custody.

The policy will apply to all immigration officers assigned to the airport’s arrival and departure counters, whose task is to conduct immigration formalities on thousands of international travelers.

Also banned from using cell phones while on duty are team leaders of the BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) and acting immigration officers and confidential agents at the Filipino counters.

Mison said emergency calls or texting may be allowed via phones officially used by the employees’ duty supervisors.

Meanwhile, Mison’s directivealso  prohibited immigration officers from merely pinning or tacking nameplates on their uniforms, saying these should be sewn or embroidered.

The directive also said that while official jackets may be worn while on duty, the employee’s nameplate must be properly pinned or tacked there.  — ELR, GMA News

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