Politics

House bill modernizing immigration bureau to generate more funds refiled 

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A BILL seeking to modernize the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for improved efficiency and revenue collection has been refiled at the House of Representatives.  

“There’s no question that the BI can easily raise between P10 billion to P12 billion in annual revenues, possibly more,” Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” C. Libanan, who refiled House Bill 1069 or the proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act, said in a statement on Sunday. 

“Before the pandemic, the BI already managed to produce P9.3 billion in revenues in 2019, up 32% from the P7.03 billion it collected in 2018,” he added.  

The measure failed to pass the Senate in the 18th Congress, which held several probes on reported illegal activities in the bureau, including bribery and human trafficking.   

The proposed law seeks to reorganize and further professionalize the BI, upgrade its systems, and increase staff pay.  

Under the bill, the BI will be required to retain “no more than P1.2 billion” of its annual income so that it can invest in automation projects, such as a fully online application and payment system that may help eliminate corruption.  

The bureau generates income from visa processing and extension fees; fines and penalties; clearance and certification taxes; and immigration tax.  

The bill also mandates the establishment of a new Immigration Academy for career advancement, and an Internal Affairs Service which will serve as a watchdog against illegal and unethical conduct by staff. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan