Immigration bureau now uses biometrics in all PH international airports

December 18, 2017 - 5:48 PM
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Phil. Star file photo shows the usual pre-Christmas long queues at the NAIA Immigration area. The BI has started using biometrics for all passengers, Commissioner Jaime Morente announced.

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) now uses a state-of-the-art, biometrics-based system for its computers in all international airports nationwide, as part of efforts to modernize its operations and upgrade its capability to detect and thwart the entry of undesirable aliens into the country.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente noted that they have been using the new software called the border control information system (BCIS) in processing all international passengers entering and exiting the premier ports over the past two weeks at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

He explained that the software requires computers to be equipped with cameras and a finger-scanning device that all passengers lining up for BI inspection must go through every time they travel in or out of the country.

“Each time a passenger’s face is captured by camera and his fingers scanned, the results are automatically cross-matched with the passport image and images in the BI database where personal details of persons with derogatory records are stored,” the BI chief said.

“A major feature of this new system is that aside from speeding up the processing time for passengers, it is also capable of detecting attempts by undesirable aliens, such as wanted fugitives and terrorists, to enter the country even if they come in as impostors or in disguise,” Morente added.

According to BI port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas, the BCIS reported that they are also interconnected with the database of the Interpol and the Australian immigration department.

“With this system the use of fraudulent travel documents and disguising one’s physical appearance will soon become inutile. The chances that they will not be caught are very slim,” he said.

Mariñas added that the BCIS was previously pilot-tested in several airports such as Mactan-Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Davao, and Laoag before it was introduced at the NAIA.