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Immigration installs biometrics system at international ports

Immigration lines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Computers at immigration counters have been upgraded with a new biometrics-based system to improve the Bureau of Immigration's ability to keep fugitives and terrorists out.

In a statement on Monday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that international airports nationwide have been using the new Border Control Information System for two weeks now.

"A major feature of this new system is that aside from speeding up the processing time for passengers, it is also capable of detecting attempts by undesirable alien, such as wanted fugitives and terrorists, to enter the country even if they come in as impostors or in disguise," Morente explained.

The BCIS-equipped computers used in immigration counters come with cameras and finger scan devices. The new software was first tested in the airports of Mactan-Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Davao and Laoag before being installed in all premier international ports across the country.

"Each time a passenger's face is captured by camera and his fingers scanned, the results are automatically crossed matched with the passport image and images in the BI database where personal details of persons with derogatory records are stored," Morente added.

BI Ports Division Chief Marc Red Mariñas said that the BCIS is interconnected with the database of the Interpol and the Australian immigration department.

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"With this system, the use of fraudulent travel documents and disguising one's physical appearance will soon become inutile. The chances that they will not be caught is very slim," he said.

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