BI bars airport staff from using mobile phones

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As part of its efforts to combat corruption, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued a directive prohibiting its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other airports from using their cellular phones while on duty.

Immigration Officer-in-Charge Siegfred Mison issued an order last week directing BI employees assigned at the airports to desist from using their cellular phones while at work.

Instead, the employees were told to deposit their cellular phones in their pigeon-type lockers or with their supervisors for temporary custody.

Mison said the prohibition applies to all immigration officers assigned to the airport?s arrival and departure counters whose primary task is to conduct immigration formalities on the thousands of international travelers who enter and exit via the country daily.

Also covered by the prohibition are team leaders of the bureau?s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) as well as acting immigration officers and confidential agents assigned at the Filipino counters.

Mison, however, said emergency or urgent calls or texting may be permitted through the cellular phones officially used by the employees? duty supervisors.

The BI chief said regulating the use of communication devices by BI airport personnel is necessary to prevent the employees from engaging in nefarious activities such as human trafficking and human smuggling.

He cited previous incidents wherein immigration officers were seen on CCTV 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,? Mison said.

In the same directive, the immigration officers were likewise prohibited from merely pinning or tacking of nameplates as these should be sewn or embroidered on their uniforms.

It added that while official jackets may be worn while on duty, the employee?s nameplate must be properly pinned or tacked therein.

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