By Jun Ramirez
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente expressed his gratitude to President Duterte for “recognizing the plight of immigration officers nationwide”.
The BI chief cited the President for approving a congressional measure transferring a big portion of the collection from the express lane fees (ELF) to the salary schedule of BI personnel.
Morente said the presidential decision will be a big help to attract more qualified personnel to work and stay in the bureau.
The use of the ELF to augment personnel’s salaries was initiated by then BI Miriam Defensor Santiago who noted that the low pay was due to an outdated immigration law.
“The basic monthly pay of BI employees is extremely low despite the nature of our work. Our officers, especially those assigned in the ports, have no weekends and holidays and are required to work long hours due to lack of personnel,” said Morente.
Morente said BI workers welcomed the temporary measure until a new immigration law is passed.
Currently, an Immigration Officer I receives a monthly pay of only P15,000, similar to what a public school teachers get.
At least 64 percent of the ELF will be used to augment the salaries of BI personnel and 24 percent for contractual workers.
The balance will be remitted to the National Treasury as income of the general fund.
“It’s a win-win solution. We are able to provide decent salaries to our personnel without added expense for the government,” Morente said.