MANILA - Malacañang has issued guidelines for the use of income from express lane fees for the augmentation pay of Bureau of Immigration personnel.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 24 acknowledged that there was a need for an interim measure to augment the salaries of BI employees “in recognition of the indispensability of their functions,” until Congress passes a new immigration act that will update the bureau’s compensation system.
The memorandum order follows the President’s veto message on the 2018 budget allowing the use of express lane fees for the overtime pay of BI employees.
The memorandum order states that the express lane fees and charges collected by the BI shall be deposited in a special trust fund account with a government bank.
Sixty-four percent of the express lane fees shall be used exclusively to augment the salaries of BI’s organic personnel, while 25 percent shall be used to pay for the salaries of BI’s contractual personnel. The remaining 11 percent shall be transmitted to the National Treasury.
The order, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on July 13, shall take effect immediately and will be effective until December 31, 2018 or until the passage of an immigration modernization law, whichever comes first.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente welcomed the memorandum order, saying “the men and women of the Bureau are very grateful to the President and we pledge to reciprocate his support by doing our jobs more diligently and conscientiously.”
BI said presently, the average take-home pay of an immigration officer is P16,000 a month for a 9-hour daily work. There is currently 1,871 organic BI personnel nationwide.
Duterte in January 2017 vetoed BI's use of express lane fees to pay for the overtime hours rendered by Immigration officers and the salary of contractual employees.
He directed BI to remit the fees instead to the national treasury as part of its income. This resulted in the mass leaves and resignations of BI personnel, triggering long lines at the airports’ immigration counters.