e-Gates Coming to Philippine Airports

Passport control at Philippine airports is about to become more convenient.

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Image by Elliott Killingbeck/Wikimedia


Red Mariñas, chief of port operations at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that e-gates will make their debut at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in June.  By the end of the year, international airports in Clark, Davao, and Kalibo, as well as the soon-to-be-opened new international terminal at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, will get e-gates.  The price tag for this project is estimated at ₱340 million (US$6.54 million, £4.8 million,  €5.4 million).

Under the new system, passengers just need to scan their passports and verify their biometric data at the reader.  Processing at the e-gate should take 15-20 seconds.

However, only Filipino citizens will be able to avail of this benefit.  Foreign passport holders must continue to face border police at the desks as they currently do.  

Currently, e-gates are in use at international ports in Hong Kong, Singapore, and most European airports to speed up passport control procedures.  However, eligibility to use them varies per country.  For instance, Hong Kong also permits most non-citizens who travel at least three times to use the e-gates.  At European airports, only European Economic Area and Swiss citizens can do so.  The United States does not have e-gates in the same way as most other countries but has started to institute an automate passport control system at selected ports where passengers will input their information at machines and presents a print-out to a border officer to continue the inspection process.  

Mariñas assured everyone that the addition of e-gates will not compromise security.  In fact, he reiterated that more border officers have been added over the past year and another 53 will be added soon.  These officers will be monitoring strategic locations at the airport for immigration-related concerns.  

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