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|Start full implemention of A/D card for intíl passengers on 01-01-10|
29 December 2009
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will start Friday (Jan. 1) the full implementation of new arrival and departure (A/D) card for international passengers.
BI Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said the Airline Operating Council (AOC), an organization of airlines flying the Philippine zone, has been given enough time to dispose of their old A/D cards and use the new immigration card in all international aiports of the country.
“Airlines have until Thursday (Dec. 31) to use the old embarkation and disembarkation cards as it cannot be read by our computers in all major airports,” Libanan said, as he stressed that the new immigration card is machine-readable and is in compliant with international standards.
Libanan emphasized that the new immigration card has the vital information on passengers’ demographics and travel characteristics, which are collated and stored.
He added that such information would enable key stakeholders in the tourism industry, including the airlines, travel agencies and tour operators, to make better business decisions, formulate policies and plans, and implement programs.
“In addition, it enables the Philippines to maximize data collection mechanism to generate statistics comparative with the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” the BI chief said.
Launched and implemented last June, the A/D card aims to have an accurate, timely, efficient, modern, progressive, and uniform means of recording and retrieval of the arrival and departure record of passengers.
The bureau, however, opted for partial implementation of the new card after the AOC officials requested Libanan for more ample time to dispose off their old A/C card.
Patch Arbas, BI technical staff chief, said the project was the result of a memorandum of agreement and joint memorandum circular that Libanan and Tourism Secretary Joseph ‘Ace’ Durano signed, which provided for the revision of the embarkation and disembarkation cards that airline passengers are required to fill up when they enter or leave the country.
Arbas added that the agreement also provides for the joint encoding by the BI and DOT of all information that are written in the cards by travelers.
Earlier, BI officials justified the use of the new A/D card as a valid exercise of the bureau’s function to document the arrival and departure of passengers and as chief regulator of the entry and stay of foreigners in the Philippines.
Also, the BI said the new card helps the bureau exercise its law enforcement function, particularly in tracing the entry and departure of suspected terrorists, human traffickers, drug lords, arms smugglers and other persons involved in transnational crimes. (BI News)