MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration is prohibiting BI employees from going on leave from March 24 to April 15 to ensure there are enough officers to serve the public before, during and after the Holy Week break.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the 3-week ban on leaves applies to BI employees assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and all the other international ports nationwide.
All applications for vacation leaves and authority to travel abroad by any BI employee assigned at the ports during the period will not be entertained nor approved, he said.
“We are constrained to implement this leave ban to make sure that our service to the traveling public are not interrupted or compromised during the Lenten break when there will surely be a sharp upsurge in the number of passengers who will enter and exit the country,” the BI chief said in a statement.
He said influx of international passengers is not only expected at the NAIA but in the other major ports such as Mactan, Clark and Kalibo.
“We have to see to it that our immigration booths at the airports are fully manned in order to cope with the long queues of passengers who will be arriving from or leaving for abroad to spend time with their families and relatives,” Tansingco said.
Since the Philippines reopened its borders to foreigners in March last year, the combined volume of international passengers who arrive and depart from the country is now averaging around 30,000 daily, compared to only about 6,000 to 9,000 daily in March 2022.
The Philippines, like all other countries, experienced a serious drop in international travel volume when the pandemic struck in March 2020.