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FAST AND EFFICIENT | Gov’t rolls out e-counters at PH airports

A foreigner tries out the Bureau of Immigration Information System (BIIS) E-Counter at NAIA terminal 3
A foreigner tries out the Bureau of Immigration Information System (BIIS) E-Counter at NAIA terminal 3

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday, Sept. 30, formally launched the BI Information System (BIIS) E-Counter Project at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The BI, which is under the Department of Justice (DOJ), said the e-counters are designed to simplify and hasten the processing of travel documents of passengers.

With the e-counters, the estimated “interphase” time is one minute per person, according to the immigration bureau.

“It will scan passports, verify fingerprints, and photos electronically. Once cleared, the passenger may directly access the express or APEC lanes for immediate stamping of the passport,” the agency said.

Aside from efficiency, the project is also seen to enhance security checks.

“The country joins the ranks of the global community with e-counters and e-gates to seamlessly address the increase in travelers in recent years given the capacity constraints,” said DOJ secretary Leila M. De Lima.

BI commissioner Siegfred B. Mison said that “e-counters is the physical equivalent of the Bureau’s ‘good guys in, bad guys out’ formula. It will be faster for the right reasons and slower or never for unwanted visitors.”

DOJ assistant secretary and chief information officer (CIO) Geronimo L. Sy said the launch of the e-counter completes the first phase of the department’s National Justice Information System (NJIS) under the Aquino administration.

“It is internally developed and adopted for the local context by the joint DOJ-BI ICT working group,” he said.

The BI system as a major NJIS component to link justice sector institutions will be in place in all airports and seaports nationwide. Initial implementation is expected at three major airports in time for APEC event in November.

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