MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) aims to replace half of its manual counters with around PHP1.9 billion worth of electronic gates (e-gates) to lessen processing time to about eight seconds per passenger. 

“E-gates are now the standard in most countries… We want things faster and more efficient to better improve the experience of our travelers,” Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement on Monday. 

Tansingco said the plan is part of the agency’s approved 2024-2026 information systems strategic plan.

He said purchase of some 43 e-gates will be done in 2024 once the project’s requested budget is approved, with targeted installation completion targeted by 2026. 

To date, there are only 21 e-gates installed in international airports around the country, most of which are installed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

Meanwhile, Tansingco assured the public of full preparation for the influx of passengers during the holidays. 

“‘Ber’ months are here again and because of this, we expect a higher number of arriving and departing passengers,” he said. 

Tansingco disclosed the augmentation of immigration personnel, including the 108 newly-graduated BI officers, to all international airports. 

He also assured the activation of the Rapid Response procedure during peak hours and critical periods, as well as the deployment of mobile counters, all of which are being made to address the country’s limited immigration spaces. (PNA)