The Bureau of Immigration will re-activate its mobile telephone jammers at the immigration zones of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as part of the government’s intensified campaign against human trafficking.
Immigration Officer-In-Charge Ronaldo Ledesma said he directed the bureau’s property section to immediately seek the necessary permit from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to again operate the NAIA cellular phone jammers.
He said similar jammers will be installed in all immigration areas in the country’s international airports as soon as the bureau gets the budget to procure them.
“These cellphone jammers will definitely go a long way in bolstering our fight against human traffickers,” Ledesma said, adding that human trafficking syndicates use mobile phones in communicating with their cohorts and victims at the airport.
According to BI property section chief John Tugade, the BI’s four jammers and its server remain intact at the NAIA departure area and can be used anytime. He said he has applied for a permit from the NTC to re-operate them as soon as possible.
The equipment, which cost more than P400,000, were bought during the previous administration but the bureau stopped using them reportedly due to protests from airline companies and other airport stakeholders.
Reactivating the jammers is one of several measures that the BI and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) initiated to boost the government’s drive against human trafficking.
The IACAT is headed by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, who is also the undersecretary-in-charge of the BI.
Three weeks ago, Ledesma announced the adoption of the “S-line” queuing system for all arriving and departing passengers at the NAIA and other airports to prevent collusion among human traffickers and rogue immigration personnel.
The “S-line” aims to prevent international passengers from choosing which immigration counter to line up to process their travel documents.
Airport immigration officers are also strictly prohibited from using their mobile phones while on duty.