BI beefs up border security to ward off foreign terrorists, traffickers
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is hiring new personnel who will man the Philippines’ southern borders to prevent the entry of illegal aliens, including foreign terrorists, the agency’s chief said.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Monday said 36 officers will be hired for deployment to six border crossing stations operated by the BI in Mindanao and Palawan.
These stations are located in the ports of Brooke’s Point and Balabac in Palawan; Tibanban, Davao Oriental; Batuganding, Davao del Sur; and the islands of Taganak and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
Morente said each of these ports will be manned by six additional border crossing officers who will monitor and board ships and inspect travelers that regularly cross the country’s borders with Malaysia and Indonesia.
He said the border officers are also mandated to coordinate with elements of other law enforcement units in their areas, such as the Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and PNP Maritime Group.
“Consequently, aside from thwarting the entry of suspected foreign terrorists, these officers are also tasked to monitor and report on the activities of and apprehend human traffickers and illegal recruiters who smuggle their victims in or out of the country via the backdoor,” he said.
Immigration records showed that mostly Malaysians and Indonesians enter and exit the country via these ports. They are engaged in barter, fishing and other commercial trading activities.
According to Marc Red Mariñas, BI port operations division chief, the need to beef up manpower of the BI’s border crossing stations in the South has become imperative due to the reported entry of foreign jihadists who had linked up with local terrorist groups.
“We are also planning to assign to the South intelligence operatives from our border control intelligence unit (BCIU) who will assist our border crossing officers in securing our backdoor against the entry of illegal and undesirable aliens,” Mariñas said. IDL
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