THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced the launching of its electronic gate facility (E-Gate) scheme for Filipino travelers arriving at the airports of Cebu and Davao.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI Port Operations Division (POD) chief Grifton Medina said that a total of five E-Gates—three in Mactan and two in Davao—became fully operational at the two southern airports last week.
Medina said similar E-Gates will be installed in the airports of Clark and Kalibo before the year ends, so that with the onset of the peak travel season the project would be operational in all of the country’s five major ports of entry.
“We are targeting to make the E-Gates operational in these major ports before Christmas and New Year, when we expect to process a huge influx of travelers,” Medina added.
He added that during its initial stages, only Filipino passengers with machine-readable passports may use the E-Gates. Children, senior citizens, and handicapped travelers, on the other hand, will be processed at a separate priority lane.
The E-Gates project was initially launched and pilot-tested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) three months ago as part of the BI’s continuous effort to expedite processing and reduce the long queues of travelers at the airports.
As a result of the project, the standard immigration processing time for every traveler was cut to only 8 to 15 seconds from the average time of 45 seconds.
Aside from faster processing, the E-Gate project also aims to bolster the BI’s ability to pinpoint or detect travelers with derogatory records, wanted fugitives, and those who are subjects of blacklists and hold departure orders.
The E-Gates are equipped with modern security features, including facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reading, and smart card recognition all rolled into one.
The launching of the E-Gate project in Mactan and Davao, is expected to help the BI address the perennial problem of long passenger queues at the airports especially during Yuletide.