The Bureau of Immigration (BI) urged travelers who are going abroad during the holidays to be at the airport early to allow the agency to enforce strict social distancing.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente advised the travelers to be at the airport earlier than their scheduled departure flights to ensure that they have ample time to check in at their airlines, and ensure social distancing at the immigration area.
Local airlines suggest that travelers start the check-in process 3-4 hours prior to their scheduled flight.
Morente bared that in the past few days there has been a steady increase in the number of international travelers departing from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), and the airports in Mactan, Cebu, and Clark, Pampanga with the onset of the Christmas season.
“While there are significantly less travelers this year because of the pandemic, there could still be congestion for late passengers rushing during boarding time,” said Morente. “We can help avoid congestion during boarding by checking in early,” he added.
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BI urges departing travelers: Be at the airport early
He shared that due to the pandemic, airlines would need to conduct additional checks to ensure compliance with travel restrictions of different countries of destination.
Morente also advised departing passengers to make sure that they possess complete travel requirements, as well as the added travel requirements by different countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also added that BI officers have been instructed to be more vigilant in screening passengers as human traffickers and illegal recruiters could take advantage of the holiday rush to spirit their victims out of the country.
“Our immigration officers are always on the lookout for suspected human trafficking and illegal recruitment victims,” said Morente. “Despite the holiday rush, we will ensure that our kababayan are protected from these predators, and we will turnover any victims to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for filing of cases against their recruiters,” he warned.
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