E-gates to ease airport queues

THE opening of the first E-gates at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 was attended with much fanfare as the system was seen to ease the long lines at immigration counters. ANTHONY CHING

Filipinos coming home from abroad for the holidays will be in for a pleasant surprise as no less than 18 electronic gates are already operational in three international airports in Manila, Cebu and Davao.

In all 13 E-gates are now open for in the three international terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International after eight were recently powered up at NAIA Terminals 1 and 2.

Three months ago, NAIA 3 was the first to get five E-gates, which would ease the passage through immigration counters of Filipino travellers, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente told reporters that three E-gates are now working at the Mactan International Airport in Cebu while two had been installed at the Davao International Airport.

By passing through the E-gates, Filipinos from abroad no longer have to line up at the immigration counters for manual processing of their passports by BI officers.

The BI chief the lines move faster as the machines take only from 8 to 15 seconds to process a passport, inclusive of biometric checks and image capture.

Nonethelesss, BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina appealed for patience from the public whenever some of the E-gates encounter technical problems.

Medina said such incidents are mere “birth pains” normal for new projects.

The computer specialists of BI are always at hand to address technical issues to minimize if not to stop their occurrence so as not to inconvenience passengers, the BI official said,
He revealed that tree E-gates are now being constructed at the Clark airport in Pampanga to be operational by the first week of December.

He also revealed that three E-Gates are now being constructed at the Clark airport in Pampanga to have the same operational by the first week of December.

Morente showcased the capabilities of the E-gates during their unveiling in Davao earlier this month.

“We are targeting to ease the lines during the peak season, as we are expecting an influx of balikbayans and OFWs who will come home during the holidays,” said Morente.

“We want to provide better service for them hence this improvement. It will be our Christmas gift for the traveling Filipinos,” he added.

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