MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading House Bill 8203 or the proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act.
"It is high time that we modernize the Bureau of Immigration, and all other laws relating to immigration in our country. In fact. this bill has been identified as a LEDAC priority measure in the 19th Congress," said House Justice Committee chair Negros Occidental Rep. Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer in her sponsorship speech.
As explained in the congressional fact sheet, the bill will comply with obligations and standards set by international law in the admission or exclusion of foreign nationals such as denying the use of Philippine territory to persons who are engaged or likely to engage in terrorism, human smuggling and trafficking, criminal and other nefarious activities.
"More over, the passage of this bill is in line with the economic agenda of the President. The improvement and modernization of our immigration system, making it more efficient and effective, will boost economic growth, attract more foreign investments, encourage tourism and create more jobs," Ferrer also said.
It will modernize structures and mechanisms necessary for the administration of immigration laws "in keeping with the changing demands of the country's role in the global community."
It will also professionalize the immigration service by instituting a rigid system of screening and selection of immigration officials and employees and promoting their development.
The bill creates a Board of Commissioners composed of the commissioner as chairperson and two deputy commissioners as members.
It also authorizes the board to retain and use every year 30 percent of its collections from immigration fees, fines and penalties, and other income that may be collected by the Bureau, not to exceed P1.2 billion every year.
It also establishes an Immigration Trust Fund (ITF) which shall be sourced from the 30 percent retained income which shall be administered by the Board in accordance with existing government auditing rules and regulations
It raises the salary grades of Immigration Officer-I (from SGII to SG13), Immigration Officer-2 (from SGI 3 to SG15), Immigration Officer-3 (from SG16 to SG18) and Senior Immigration Officer (from SG19 to SG20)
It also harmonizes existing immigration rules and regulations pertaining to issuance of visas to foreign nationals.
The House will vote on final approval next week.
House of Representatives, House, BI, Bureau of Immigration, immigration, Bureau of Immigration modernization, ANC, ANC promo