Immigration officers who boarded cruise ships from China placed on home quarantine – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2020   •   359

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration(BI) on Monday said that 19 of its immigration officers who boarded vessels which carried passengers with travel history from China and its special administrative regions have been placed on home quarantine.

In a statement, the BI said the move is part of its preventive measure against the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the 19 immigration officers boarded five different cruise ships that ferried passengers who traveled to China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the last 14 days and arrived between January to February.

Morente said none of these officers have manifested any symptoms of the disease nor the passengers when they were first examined by the authorities.

“They were assessed by competent personnel of the Bureau of Quarantine, who were part of the boarding teams that inspect arriving ships,” Morente said.

“We are doing this as a preventive measure, to ensure that our officers are protected from the virus,” he added.

The immigration chief also assured his personnel that “there is nothing to worry about” as this move merely “ensures the health and safety of everyone through preventive measures.”

The novel coronavirus – which originated from the Chinese City of Wuhan – has killed over 900 in mainland China as of February 10 with 40,171 confirmed infections, according to a report from China’s National Health Commission.

In the Philippines, health authorities are observing more than 280 individuals for possible novel coronavirus infection. It so far confirmed three cases with one fatality.

Immigration bureau installs more CCTV cams in PH airports

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is installing additional closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in international airports in the country as part of its efforts to improve passenger monitoring capability and prevent corruption among its port personnel.

In a statement, the BI said more than a hundred CCTV cameras were already installed at Terminals 2 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mactan-Cebu International Airports, and Clark International Airport.

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, bureau’s port operations acting chief Grifton Medina said the CCTVs operate 24-hours a day in all immigration counters at the arrival and departure areas of the four airports, where all activities and movements of people captured by the cameras are recorded on real time basis.

The agency said several CCTV cameras will also be installed at the Davao International Airport, as well as in the ports of Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Bohol-Panglao, Zamboanga, and Subic.

According to Morente, the project is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders to institute more effective measures to monitor passenger movement and the actions of immigration personnel on duty at the airports.

“These CCTVs are effective deterrents against corruption as our officers will now be wary and discouraged to commit irregularities as all their actions will surely be caught on camera,” the BI Chief said.

Medina also reported that CCTVs previously installed at the NAIA Terminal 1 will be rehabilitated as part of the second phase of the project, which will be followed by the putting up of new cameras in several other international ports.

Aside from the ports, CCTVs were also put up at the bureau’s satellite and extension offices in Quezon City, Taguig and Makati Cities.

Suspected American pedophile nabbed in Pangasinan

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has arrested an American wanted by United States authorities for alleged sexual exploitation of a Filipino minor.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente identified the suspect as 69-year old Michael Kent Clapper.

Morente said Clapper was arrested on Monday in San Manuel, Pangasinan during a joint operation conducted by operatives from the bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit, Women and Children Protection Center, and the Philippine National Police Region 1.

The BI chief said the arrest was made after the US Embassy sought the agency’s assistance in apprehending clapper due to his “involvement in possible sexual exploitation of a minor in the Philippines.”

Morente said Clapper has allegedly been in an “inappropriate relationship” with a 12-year old girl.

The Embassy also stated that Clapper’s US passport already expired, making him an undocumented alien who is subject to summary deportation.

“He will be deported for being an undocumented and undesirable alien,” Morente said.

“His continued presence here poses a serious risk to our Filipino children, anyone of whom could be his next victim,” he added.

The bureau said Clapper last arrived in the country as a tourist on March 26 last year.

He is temporarily detained at the San Miguel police headquarters pending release of his swab test for COVID-19.

If he tests negative for the virus, he will be committed to the BI Warden Facility in Bicutan, Taguig City where he will remain until he is deported.

Clapper will then be placed in the immigration blacklist and banned from re-entering the country, the BI said.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro tested again for novel coronavirus

UNTV News   •   July 7, 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday (July 6) he had undergone another test for the novel coronavirus, after local media reported he had symptoms associated with the COVID-19 respiratory disease, including a fever.

Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just visited the hospital and been tested for the virus, adding that an exam had shown his lungs “clean.”

CNN Brasil and newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported that he had symptoms of the disease, such as a fever. The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even as Brazil has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 related deaths, according to official data on Monday.

The right-wing populist has often defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June.

Over the weekend, Bolsonaro attended multiple events and was in close contact with the U.S. ambassador to Brazil during July 4 celebrations. The U.S. embassy in Brasilia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro previously tested negative for the coronavirus after several aides were diagnosed following a visit to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate in March. (Reuters)

(Production: Leonardo Benassatto, Paul Vieira)

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