A Contingency Plan for Travellers over the Holy Week
Holy Week is nearly upon us and while some of our kababayans may take this time to connect to their religiosity, others use the break to escape the urban jungle that is Metro Manila or take a vacay away out of the country all together. If you are leaving the country, you know that the queue to get through immigration can be a bit of a chore. Imagine our horror when we came across a headline on INQUIRER.net, that airport officials were asking us to arrive 5 hours early from scheduled flights to make sure you get through the line in time.
For a bit of context, many of our immigration officers have been on leave since mid-February due to the fact that President Duterte has ordered to stop payment for overtime work; an order that the Bureau is currently appealing.
To counter the lack of immigration officers, Immigration Commissioner — Jaime Morente, has ordered the deployment of 171 officers during the Holy Week; starting on April 9. The bulk of this force will be assigned to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport with the rest spread out across: Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo.
The Department of Budget and Management has already approved 49 positions for the Bureau of Immigration and 887 posts for immigration officers to alleviate the need for workers to pull longer shifts, but it seems most of the existing officers prefer to work longer hours to provide more for their families.