New immigration electronic gates are the latest in NAIA good news

July 16, 2018 - 1:27 PM
Newly installed immigration electronic gates at the NAIA arrival area (Facebook/JP Mortel Fajura)

New electronic gates being installed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shown in a viral Facebook post is seen as a step forward for the country’s premier international gateway long beset with poor facilities and congestion.

Photos and a video of at NAIA’s arrival area were shared by Facebook user JP Mortel Fajura, who aired his excitement over this new facility.

Dahil sa gusto ng Duterte Administration na maghatid ng comfortable life for all Filipinos lalo na sa mga kababayan…

Posted by JP Mortel Fajura on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Department of Transportation also picked this up and provided further details on how the e-gate system is supposed to work.

“Kailangan lang i-tap ng pasahero ang kanyang passport para bumukas ang e-gate. Tinatayang nasa labinglimang segundo lang ang aabutin para sa mga first time na magrerehistro ng kanilang passport at walong segundo naman kung dati na itong nagamit,” the agency wrote in its official Facebook account.

However, in its own post, the DOTr mistook the acronym of the immigration bureau with that of the Bureau of Investments. The minor error was noticed by a few amid praises given on the comments section.

Based on the short clip included in the post, the e-gate seemed to have a height tester and a passport scanner similar to other countries’ airports.

Solution to passenger queues

The government allotted P340 million to build the e-gate facilities, adapted from other countries like Singapore, Australia and the Middle East, according to Immigration port operations division chief Red Mariñas.

This initiative is seen to help ease the prevailing problem of airport terminals being congested due to the influx of passengers waiting to be screened.

Passengers had to go through manual frisking by assigned immigration officers—a process that took longer and resulted in long passenger queues in airports.

With the e-gates in place, the passenger is expected to take only 12 to 15 seconds to be screened.

“Passengers will only have to swipe their passports, have biometrics and undergo facial capturing,” the BI officer said.

When it was first announced, Mariñas said that 18 units will be installed in airports, such as NAIA and airports in Kalibo, Clark, Davao and Cebu.

This time, DOTr said in its Facebook post that a total of 21 units are projected to be in five airports while 11 units will go to NAIA terminals 1 and 3.

Mariñas said that this convenience is for Filipinos only while foreigners will have to go through the manual process facing immigration officers.

From worst to most improved

NAIA’s rehabilitation became one of the priority airport projects included in Duterte’s big infrastructure plan, years after the country’s premier airport was dubbed as the worst in the world.

This year, the 70-year-old airport became one of the most improved among the 550 airports ranked in the world now under general manager Eddie Monreal.

As of writing, the bidding to finance NAIA’s makeover is still ongoing.