The Immigration Officers Association of the Philippines Inc. led by its president Er German Robinn is lobbying Congress to approve a pending measure to replace the outdated Immigration Act of 1940 or the salary standardization law to increase the salary grade of BI officers from 11 to 18.
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BI employees demand pay hike amid ‘pastillas’ anomaly
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Employees of the Bureau of Immigration are asking for salary increase and better benefits amid the alleged involvement of some BI personnel in the “pastillas” scam that gives special treatment to Chinese citizens entering the country.

The Immigration Officers Association of the Philippines Inc. led by its president Er German Robinn is lobbying Congress to approve a pending measure to replace the outdated Immigration Act of 1940 or the salary standardization law to increase the salary grade of BI officers from 11 to 18.

“We are asking Congress to approve the higher salary grades and other benefits for BI employees. We hope that the pending measure will be passed this year,” Robinn said in a statement yesterday.

Robinn made the appeal after immigration officer 1 Allison Aguas Chiong said during a recent Senate hearing that the removal of overtime pay of BI officers has affected the bureau’s workforce. 

Under the current salary grades, Robinn said an immigration officer 1 receives a gross income of up to P22,000 monthly, which is way below the salary received by their counterparts in Southeast Asian countries. 

But he emphasized that the insufficient salary should not be used as an excuse by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to resort to corrupt practices. 

“Immigration officers were demoralized with the removal of overtime pay, but it should not be an excuse for them to be involved in irregularities,” Robinn said. 

He said they welcomed the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Bureau of Investigation into the pastillas racket.

The BI is an attached agency of the DOJ. 

Robinn said they would provide legal assistance to immigration employees who were dragged into the scam, including Chiong who is under the government’s witness protection program.

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