Filipino travellers arriving in the Cebu and Davao airports can now experience the electronic gate (e-gate) facility scheme that was launched by the Bureau of Immigration.
As reported, a total of five e-gates became fully operational at the two southern airports. Three were opened in Mactan, Cebu while two in Davao.
Similar e-gates will also be installed at the Clark and Kalibo airports before the year ends in anticipation of the holiday travel season.
They are aiming to do this so that the project would be operational in all of the country’s five major ports of entry with the onset of the peak travel season.
The Bureau is targeting to make the e-gates working in these major ports before the Christmas and New Year, when they are expecting to process a huge influx of traveling passengers.
Only Filipino passengers with machine-readable passports may use the e-gates.
The first stage of the e-gate would be for children and senior citizens, while travellers with disability will be processed at a separate priority lane.
The e-gates were initially launched and pilot-tested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) three months ago.
It was a part of the Bureau’s effort to expedite processing of travellers and reduce the long queues at the airports.
It is an initiative introduced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called Fast Travel program that will simplify and efficiently improve clearing processes.
From the average time of 45 seconds, the project was able to cut down the standard immigration processing time for every traveller to 8 – 15 seconds.
Not only does e-gate provide faster processing, but it also aims to strengthen the Bureau’s ability to pinpoint or detect travellers with derogatory record.
This covers wanted fugitives and those who are subjects of blacklists and hold departure orders.
Each e-gate is equipped with modern security features, including facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reading, and smart card recognition, all rolled into one.
The launching of the e-gate project in Cebu and Davao is very much welcomed as it will help the Bureau address the perennial problem of long passenger queues at the airports especially during the Yuletide season.
According to this report, the project was funded by the national government at US$ 6.2 million (PHP 328,869,000).
With the installation of the new machines, a fast travel and accurate border clearing system will be expected.
This system will help eliminate errors in the verification of passengers as well as provide the Bureau with a quick system to detect persons of interest trying to cross the country’s borders.
The new technology was initially installed to check Filipino citizens at arrival formalities but the Bureau may soon be installing more machines at the departure areas as well.
This project really prioritises Filipinos, to guarantee their fast and smooth processing so they have more time to be with their families.