Starting Monday, July 23, Filipino passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 can use the electronic immigration gates (e-gates), an immigration official said on Wednesday.
However, while the official launch of the e-gates in Terminal 3 is set on Thursday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) still has to calibrate and fine-tune the machines before using these for regular or actual operations, BI Port Operations Division chief Red Mariñas told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“For four days starting tomorrow (July 19), we will conduct random testing on actual passengers, so we could fine-tune the machines and the program before we give this a complete ‘go’ signal,” Mariñas said.
Passengers who will be part of this random testing need not go face-to-face with an immigration officer at the BI counter, Mariñas pointed out, however.
At present, there are two e-gates installed at NAIA Terminal 3. There will be four more to be installed there, he said.
Mariñas earlier told PNA that the government has allotted PHP340 million for the e-gates, and that the BI targets that all the e-gates will be installed at the country’s major airports by yearend.
About 18 e-gate units will be put up in the country’s major airports, including those in Clark, Davao, and Kalibo, and the new airport in Cebu.
Mariñas also pointed out that the e-gates will definitely speed up BI transactions, since it will only take 12 seconds to 15 seconds for the passengers to swipe their passports, have biometrics, and undergo facial capturing.
He also clarified earlier that the e-gates would be used by Filipinos only.
“Immigration officers will still need to cater to foreigners. Also, the officers will be [at the airports] to look around for security purposes,” he said. PNA