Immigration officers told to be courteous

By Benjamin Lim Vergara

Philippine Bureau of Immigration Image ©

IMMIGRATION officers nationwide, especially at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, were reminded to be courteous and polite in dealing with the public following the failure of some of them to comply the prescribed decorum.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) deputy commissioner Marc Red Mariñas issued the reminder after noting that some officers are violating the bureau’s policy concerning its dealings with the public.

Mariñas, a concurrent Port Operations Division (POD) chief, insists that all BI officers manning airports’ immigration booths nationwide, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), to observe proper decorum when conducting primary inspection of passengers.

He said officers should always exercise patience and maximum tolerance as well as the “highest degree of restraint” towards passengers who manifest simple misbehavior that do not pose danger to public safety.

“Any immigration officer who is a subject of complaint for being rude shall be issued a notice to explain, and could face disciplinary action for violating the code of conduct for BI employees,” Mariñas warned.

This developed after BI Commissioner Jaime Morente instructed Mariñas to take corrective action following reports that some NAIA immigration officers were impolite during their inspection of both arriving and departing passengers.

Morente pointed out that the existing directives on proper conduct must be strictly observed and implemented.

The BI, at the same time, warned that foreigners who are too rude and unruly during inspection, which is tantamount to disrespect to immigration officers, will be subjected to deportation and blacklisting.

Last month, one of the country’s chess grandmaster was allegedly maltreated by a BI officer while he was reportedly engrossed playing a cellular phone game.

Chess grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio got the treatment of his life from an on duty BI officer identified only as Perez at the NAIA terminal 3 after he mistakenly interrupted his game.

The Malaysia-bound Antonio was only asking the officer where he could find the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) refund booth.

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Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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