MANILA – An incident that had two noted personalities – actress Gretchen Barretto and gaming consultant Atong Ang – getting apparent special treatment from facilitators as they flew home Sunday night has gotten the Bureau of Immigration chief all worked up.
The result: an order from Atty. Jaime Morente, with a stern warning to violators, that henceforth no form of “VIP” facilitation by BI personnel will be allowed.
The order covers the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s terminals and all other international airports.
The BI chief also imposed a policy declaring off-limits the immigration area in all international airports to all unauthorized persons.
The bureau is under the Department of Justice.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Commissioner Morente said he instructed the BI’s port operations division chief, Marc Red Mariñas, to inform all BI personnel of the order.
Morente warned employees to stop providing “escort” assistance to arriving and departing passengers.
They are barred from facilitating, even through text or phone calls, the processing of “VIP” or other people just to speed up their passage through the immigration counter.
Only employees on duty or have travel orders are allowed in the immigration area.
Morente issued the orders following reports that some well-known personalities, like Ang and Barretto, were seen with a retired policeman as escort last Monday evening (July 3).
The incident report from the port operations division headed by Mariñas confirmed that VIP treatment was accorded the gaming executive Ang, who arrived on the same flight as actress Barretto.
The escort was identified as retired Senior Police Officer 4 Ciriaco Peralta, who was also described as “a media practitioner” and employee of a high-end retail store.
Peralta wore a pass from the Pass Control Office when he arrived at the airport to fetch Ang and Barretto at NAIA Terminal 1.
Mariñas’ report said Peralta was seen as he “approached BCIU on duty informing he will assist Mr. Ang who arrived with movie personality Gretchen Barretto and company” on TG flight 624 at 7:28pm from Bangkok.
Morente said he will ask airport general manager Ed Monreal to investigate the incident.
Meanwhile, the BI has started imposing a strict “no travel facilitation, no loafing and no loitering” policy.