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Long lines and corruption expected as bureau of immigration slashes wages



Due to the scrapping of a fund that helped augment BI staff wages, officers are calling in sick, resigning or looking elsewhere for funds

An increase in corruption and airport waiting times can be expected as Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers are hit with brutal pay cuts.

Wage reductions of up to 50 per cent have led to a rash of absenteeism, with 1,759 workers requesting sick leave since the beginning of last month.

In other cases, officers are simply not turning up for work, leading to ever worsening congestion at Manila’s NAIA airport. Furthermore, there have been 26 resignations from January to March this year, compared to only five in the same period last year.

The pay cut follows a decision to scrap a pay-boosting scheme that was implemented in 1988. When the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was BI commissioner, she introduced the express lane service at the NAIA, with profits used to cover overtime and bonuses, helping staff secure wages of up to 50,000 pesos a month.

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Because of this scheme, low salary grade workers — who can earn as little as 6,000 pesos per month as basic pay — received decent wages until last December.

However, when President Duterte passed the 2017 national budget, he scrapped the express line fund.

Speaking at the time, he said: “Without a separate substantive law as legal basis, the collected fees from the express lane charges should now be deposited as income to the General Fund.”

It’s for this reason that the BI is struggling with funds and workers are again receiving only basic pay.

Gregorio Sadiasa, chief of the employees’ union BUKLOD-CID, said morale in the bureau was at rock bottom. “We are really demoralised, we no longer have a source for our daily expenses, we cannot afford to send our children to school.”

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However, BI spokeswoman Antonette Mangrobang denied the bureau was in crisis. “We’re getting by, we’re tying to manage it, the lines get long sometimes but it’s manageable.

“We are encouraging our imigration officers, even Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente went to the airport to ask for their patience.

Mr Morente has now issued an internal memorandum to his employees assuring them action is being taken to address the problem.

“The Secretary of Justice and the Commissioner have been exerting all legal remedy for the restoration of over time pay from the express lane funds.

“Until the issue can be ruled on with finality, only then will we rest the case. For the meantime, I encourage everyone to focus on our job and be patient,” he said.

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Until the situation is resolved, it remains to be seen whether lines will continue to grow — or if immigration officers will start to look for alternative sources of funds, such as the infamous planted bullet scam.

6 Comments on "Long lines and corruption expected as bureau of immigration slashes wages"

  1. If Mr. Duterte “scrapped the express line fund”, as stated in the article, why are foreigners still being required to pay it? Also, if those express funds being paid are not going to BI employees, where ARE they going?

  2. Steve Grumman | April 6, 2017 at 12:45 am |

    I am not paying anymore express lane fees if the money goes to the general fund. That’s like paying an indirect tax, which is not acceptable!

  3. The Dogs Back Wheels | April 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm |

    The express line fee is applied whether any work is done there and then or at a later date.It is now built in to any transaction.I am wondering where they intend to make up this short fall? I’m betting visa fees , airport taxes etc etc. Fleece the foreigners again for sure because staff have mapped out their lives to the tune of P48,000 and now they are only getting what the job description said when the applied P16,000, A very good wage in Mindanao.I am not getting why they are getting upset , if they say they are not being paid for over time , then don,t do the overtime.A replacement for extra hours is not your problem.If you signed on for 8 hours per day for 16k then stick to it.But there must have been some serious money handed out if a monthly salary jumps from 16k – 48k through overtime. Lastly even earning P16,000 i fail to see where the hundreds who are seeking other employment will find such a job with this sort of wage and all the securities that go with it?

  4. raul abusado | April 10, 2017 at 11:18 am |

    research muna para sa matalinong opinyon.
    mga bobo mga pilipino kaya naloloko palagi. eto ang tunay na sitwasyon sa immigration. sa ngayon may 1000 na immigration officers lang sweldo is 16k. 16million kada buwan binabayaran ng gobyerno ang overtime ay binabayaran ng airlines, shipping at other persons served ayon sa batas ng immigration. ngayon magdagdag daw ang dbm ng 4000 na officers na may sweldo ng 40,000. 200millon kada buwan. dumagdag ang gastos ng gobyerno ng 184milliobn kada buwan. lugi ang gobyerno at tayo mgas pilipino. ang mga shipping at airlines ay di na magbayad kasi di na mag overtime taga immigration. pinasa lang nila sa gobyerno at taong bayan ang gastos.overtime kasi basis ng pagbabayad nila sa immigration. mga private companies ang may gusto mawala overtime kasi sila makakatipid. ngayon tayo taxpayer lugi ng 184million kada buwan. kaya konti ang immigration officers kasi tipid sa gobyerno at willing mag overtime kasi di naman gobyerno magbayad.

  5. raul abusado | April 10, 2017 at 11:20 am |

    this is the actual problem the governmrnt is facing on bi overtime payments. research muna para sa matalinong opinyon.
    eto ang tunay na sitwasyon sa immigration. sa ngayon may 1000 na immigration officers lang sweldo is 16k. 16million kada buwan binabayaran ng gobyerno ang overtime ay binabayaran ng airlines, shipping at other persons served ayon sa batas ng immigration. ngayon magdagdag daw ang dbm ng 4000 na officers na may sweldo ng 40,000. 200millon kada buwan. dumagdag ang gastos ng gobyerno ng 184milliobn kada buwan. lugi ang gobyerno at tayo mgas pilipino. ang mga shipping at airlines ay di na magbayad kasi di na mag overtime taga immigration. pinasa lang nila sa gobyerno at taong bayan ang gastos.overtime kasi basis ng pagbabayad nila sa immigration. mga private companies ang may gusto mawala overtime kasi sila makakatipid. ngayon tayo taxpayer lugi ng 184million kada buwan. kaya konti ang immigration officers kasi tipid sa gobyerno at willing mag overtime kasi di naman gobyerno magbayad.

  6. President Duteriorate is making a mess of immigration.
    Change was need, but some of the overtime should have been phased out, not all drastically eliminated.
    Now the system is in chaos.

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