The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced the approval by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the advanced passenger information system (APIS) which aims to strengthen the country’s border security.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra approved the APIS’ IRR in January, and that the same was already published in a newspaper of national circulation.
“The system would allow BI to receive specific data from arriving passengers,” said Morente. “Apart from checking derogatory records, we will be able to use data to investigate the possible entry of illegal aliens through early detection of red flags,” he added.
Adopted through an executive order that President Rodrigo Duterte issued last Dec. 15, APIS involves the electronic transmission to the BI by the airlines of the names and personal details of their passengers and crew members prior to their arrival or departure in the country.
This will enable the BI to conduct in advance security vetting of international travelers so that those with derogatory record, such as international terrorists and wanted foreign fugitives, will be prevented from boarding their flights to the Philippines right at their ports of origin.
Morente said the BI will launch the APIS as soon as technical issues are ironed out to ensure the successful implementation of the scheme.
Documents show that the BI has created the APIS Operations Center (APOC) last February 19 to oversee the implementation of the project. Once operational, the APIS will relieve both the airlines and the BI of the burden of having to turn back or exclude undesirable aliens upon arriving in our airports and board them on the first available flight to their port of origin.
If an incoming traveler listed in the manifest registers a derogatory hit in the BI database, the bureau will immediately inform and instruct the airline not to board the passenger on his flight.
Through the APIS, the BI said that they would be able to analyze travel patterns, pre-check booking details, and know actual ports of origin. Said data, according to the BI, would be helpful in restricting the entry of unwanted aliens in the country.