By Benjie Lim Vergara
THE Bureau of Immigration on Thursday afternoon introduced a PhP328 million electronic gate system or e-Gate to enhance and lessen the clearing time of travelers.
BI officials said the e-Gate, an initiative introduced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called Fast Travel program, will simplify and efficiently improve clearing processes. It also “aims to provide the agency with efficiency and accuracy on pinpointing citizens under watch list and/or persons of interest in immigration formalities.”
The e-Gate will enhance clearing time of each traveler and reduce human errors in the process of clearing. It will be initially used to for Filipino citizens at arrival formalities.
According to Marc Red Marinas, BI’s Port Operations Division (POD) chief, the standard processing time for a passenger to be cleared at an immigration counter is 45 seconds. He added, however, that it may take longer depending on the primary or secondary requirements of the individual passengers.
Marinas said there are 21 units of e-Gates installed at four international airports in the country, these are: NAIA Terminal 1 – 5 e-Gates, NAIA Terminal 3-6 e-Gates, Mactan-Cebu International Airport-5, Clark International Airport-3, and Davao International Airport-2.
This project, Marinas said, was funded by the national government at a cost of PhP328,869,000.
Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the NAIA 3 e-Gate was launched on July 18. He said arriving Filipinos must have machine readable passports.
For secondary inspections, duty supervisors and secondary officers are stationed nearby in attention for signals or red lights from the e-Gates, he added.
The use of e-Gates aimed to enhance the agency’s security capability through additional security checks, facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reader, and smart card recognition all rolled into one system.