President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the executive order (EO) implementing the Advance Passenger Information (API) System to beef up border control through the strict and intensified enforcement of Philippine immigration laws.
The President on Tuesday signed EO No. 122 that pushed the adoption of the API System (APIS), referring to an electronic communications system that collects biographic data from machine readable passports, other official travel documents, or basic details provided by commercial carriers.
“An APIS may either be interactive or non-interactive/batch style and shall include other program or system authorized or recommended under pertinent international standards and guidelines,” the EO stated.
Aside from strict enforcement of immigration laws to enhance the Philippine border control, Duterte emphasized the upgrading of screening capacity “to enhance border integrity, manage international traffic flow amidst dramatic growth in passenger numbers, and ensure public safety and security.”
Under the EO, the captain, master or agent, or owner of a commercial carrier whose vessel or aircraft is arriving in or departing from any port within the Philippine territory shall provide the Bureau of Immigration (BI) the API of its passengers, and those of the crew and non-crew members.
The API shall serve as initial security vetting of passengers, crew and non-crew members to effectively facilitate and expedite the arrival and departure process of legitimate travelers during primary inspection. This, however, shall not exempt any passenger, crew or non-crew member from submitting to physical primary inspection at the immigration counters of the ports of entry or departure.
The EO also states that the BI may share information contained in the API in furtherance of regional or international security.
Any unauthorized disclosure, sharing, publication or use of the information considered as API shall be punishable in accordance with the relevant provisions of Republic Act No. 10173 as well as criminal and civil service laws, rules, and regulations.
The captain, master or agency, or owner of a commercial carrier shall be liable for the payment of appropriate administrative fines under Commonwealth Act No. 613 and its implementing rules and regulations, for failure to provide API to the BI or to include a passenger, crew or non-crew member in the API. CURRENTPH