MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration is looking to expedite the hiring of new personnel in time for the Christmas season, as the "pastillas" corruption scandal drew a "big blow" to its manpower.
Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said they are trying to hasten the hiring of around 100 immigration officers in the following months. The applicants, she said, submitted their documents before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
She said the agency's manpower was affected when 86 personnel were implicated in the corruption scandal, where immigration officials allegedly took bribes to allow the illegal entry of Chinese nationals.
"Aabot sa 86 ang na-implicate sa pastillas scam so we’re looking at expediting the hiring of around 100 immigration officers sa mga susunod na buwan, ito po ang mga nag-apply pre-pandemic… We’re looking na ma-deploy sila para maihabol sa Christmas season," Sandoval said in a public press briefing.
(There are around 86 who were implicated in the pastillas scam so we're looking at expediting the hiring of around 100 immigration officers in the following months. These are the ones who applied pre-pandemic. We are looking to deploy them in time for the Christmas season.)
The bribery scheme, exposed after a series of investigations, involves the alleged illegal entry of Chinese nationals who arrive as tourists then later work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) hubs, which are mostly Chinese-operated.
The foreigners allegedly pay immigration personnel and travel agencies in grease money rolled in bond paper - similar to the local delicacy.
The NBI has filed corruption raps against the 86 officials.
Sandoval stressed the need to pass a proposed Bureau of Immigration modernization law that seeks to eradicate "systemic issues" in the office.
"Nakikita talaga natin na ang bagong law is the long-term solution of this problem. Our law is an 80-year-old law, lumang-luma na po siya and the provisions are already outdated so we see the need for the immediate passing of the law," she said.
(We see that the new law is the long-term solution to this problem. Our law is an 80-year-old law. It's very old and the provisions are already outdated so we see the need for the immediate passage of the law.)