12 BI execs in 3 airports reshuffled to stop corruption

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A dozen Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers holding key positions in three airports have been reshuffled as part of management’s thrust to revitalize operations, an official said on Wednesday.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the 12 senior officers were formerly assigned to the Bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU).

Among their duties is to conduct a secondary inspection of passengers arriving and departing in the different international ports.

“I have issued the personnel orders designating new officers who will supervise the TCEU not only at the NAIA [Ninoy Aquino International Airport] but in the airports of Mactan and Iloilo as well,” Morente said in a statement.

“This is just the initial wave of a thorough revamp that we shall implement in our airports in the coming days,” he added.

Morente said many of the officers who were relieved or replaced as a result of the reshuffle have been in their posts for more two years.

“It is time to give others a chance to assume the responsibility of overseeing our operations at the airports,” he said.

The BI chief added that immigration officers at the airports perform a critical and important role in securing the country’s ports from the entry of undesirable aliens and preventing the departure of suspected victims of human trafficking.

Morente said the next wave of reshuffle would involve more key officials at the airports.

“We have to shake up the system to prevent stagnation,” he added.

BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said this would prevent fraternization in the workplace, one of the major sources of corruption in government.

Ma. Timotea Barizo, who was designated overall TCEU chief, said her new post will be challenging.

“Challenging, yet (we are) committed to ensuring that they perform their duties to protect our kababayan from human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” she added.

She said one of her priorities was to stop the modus of deploying minor and underage overseas Filipino workers.

Last March, the BI implemented a routine reshuffle involving over 20 supervisors and intelligence officers at the three NAIA terminals which is part of Morente’ s policy to “shake up the system” to prevent fraternization and corruption.

Among those affected by the revamp were the chief of the airport operations section, port operations division deputy heads, BI NAIA Terminal supervisor, head of the BI’s Border Control and Intelligence Unit, and members of the BI’s Special Operations and Communications Unit.

Early this year, a total of 514 immigration officers have been reshuffled in NAIA.

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