Employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) vowed to weed out corruption in government in pursuit of good governance and public accountability.
Led by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, personnel of the BI from all over the country signed the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission’s (PACC) Anti-Corruption Manifesto in an online event on Wednesday morning.
The event, led by PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica and other officials of the PACC, had about 150 attendees, including BI personnel assigned in different regions of the country from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“This is both as an affirmation of our unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption, as well as a means to remind all our personnel that corruption and illegal transactions have no room in the Bureau of Immigration,” said Morente.
Morente shared that the last few years have been a challenge to them, with issues of corruption hounding the agency.
“More than 400 employees have been investigated or sanctioned since 2016, following our aggressive fight to weed out corruption,” said Morente. “I take an iron fist stance on this evil, as it has no place amongst our ranks,” said Morente.
It can be recalled that late last year, Morente declared a one-strike policy against erring employees, and warned that reports of corruption will entail an employee’s immediate relief.
Morente added that apart from the administrative sanctions, they have put in place numerous system improvements to deter and prevent corruption in the workplace.
More than 400 investigated, sanctioned since 2016 in Morente’s ‘iron fist’ policy
“We are proud of our ISO 9001:2015 Certification for our frontline services at the airports and our tourist visa extension at the main office. This shows that our services are of international standards,” he stated.
Among other actions taken by the agency are the creation of a 24/7 feedback channel through Immigration Helpline in 2016, streamlining of frontline processes in compliance with the Ease of Doing Business Law, eliminating red tape by reducing the number of process steps and signatories and by modernizing systems, decentralization of airport units to maintain checks and balances at the airport, activation of the E-Gate System—a man-less counter used in processing arriving Filipino passengers, initiation of contactless transactions to eliminate corruption as well as ensure social distancing, and more stringent and enhanced counterintelligence efforts against corruption.
“The pandemic has given us more opportunities to implement measures that not only ensure the proper safety and health protocols but also result in tighter anti-corruption controls. These improvements have been proven effective, as seen in the most recent audit of the ARTA on the BI, wherein no major adverse findings have been reported,” said Morente.
“The signing of this manifesto is a symbol of our continuous commitment to finally cleanse the Bureau of the evils of corruption. With our partners from the PACC, we shall continue to uphold the tenets of the Anti-Corruption Manifesto, and strive to be role models as responsible public servants,” said Morente. “Together, we join hands as we walk the path to a cleaner, better, corrupt-free government,” he added.