July 19, 2018 03:07 PM

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday launched its Electronic Gate System (E-Gate) project which aims to improve the processing time of international passengers and to lessen long queues at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Bureau expects to cut the processing time of passengers from the present 45 seconds to just 8 to 15 seconds.

Morente said the project will also enhance the BI’s ability to detect passengers with derogatory records, including wanted fugitives and those who are in the immigration blacklist, watch list and hold departure list.

The electronic immigration gates are provided with modern security features such as facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reading, and smart card recognition, Morente added.

According to OIC Deputy Commissioner Marc Red Marinas, head of the BI’s Port Operations Division, the P329 million E-Gate project was funded by the government and by the International Air Transport Association.

Marinas explained that as the project is still in its “experimental phase,” it will be first used by Filipino passengers with machine readable passports.

Marinas said children, senior citizens on wheelchairs and other handicapped travelers will still have to go through the regular counters.

Meanwhile BI Deputy Commissioner Tobias Javier described the E-Gate System as a “fast travel and accurate border clearing system” which he said can also “detect persons of interest trying to cross the country’s borders”.

According to the BI, a total of 21 E-Gates will be installed in five major international airports before the year ends. Of these, 11 will be installed at NAIA Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Five will be installed at the Mactan international airport, three at the Clark international airport and two at the Davao international  airport.

(c) Micah Yurielle P. Atienza

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