Senator Chiz Escudero assured that the salary and benefits of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) staff will not be affected by his proposal to reimburse the expenses of the offloaded passengers.
In a statement, Escudero clarified that the money for the refund will come from BI’s income that is not used and is only returned to the National Treasury at the end of the year.
“The refund will not affect the salary and benefits of the BI personnel. It will only come from the excess income of the BI that is not part of their budget. Any reduction in the wages of BI people is illegal and I will oppose it,” Escudero said.
The senator added that his proposal aims to protect the rights of the travelers who are unjustly offloaded by the Immigration officers due to the long and tedious process of questioning.
“It is unfair that the passengers who have valid documents and reasons to travel are denied entry or exit by the BI officers without due process. They have to shoulder the expenses of rebooking their flights, paying for hotel accommodations, and other costs. They deserve to be refunded by the BI,” Escudero said.
Escudero filed Senate Bill No. 2024, which seeks to amend the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, to provide for the refund of the expenses incurred by the offloaded passengers.
The bill also proposes to impose penalties on the BI officers who abuse their authority and violate the rights of the travelers.
According to Escudero, the bill will help improve the efficiency and accountability of the BI, as well as enhance the image of the country as a tourist destination.
“I hope that this bill will be passed soon to address the issues and complaints of the travelers who are affected by the BI’s policies and procedures. This will also encourage more tourists to visit our country and boost our economy,” Escudero said.