FOR two consecutive years, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) was cited for championing freedom of information due to its high rate of response to requests for information from the public.
The BI was one of several government agencies that received a freedom of information (FOI) award conferred by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) during a virtual awarding ceremony recently.
The BI was given the award for being one of the agencies that acted on 50 to 249 requests and resolved at least 90 percent of requests for information from the public.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente welcomed the news and congratulated BI personnel for the achievement.
“The hardworking men and women of the bureau who ensured that information is given to the public in a timely and accurate manner made this accomplishment possible,” he stated.
Morente vowed that the BI will not cease to uphold the public's right to information by always giving prompt access to needed data on the various types of services offered by our agency.
According to him, the BI’s National Operations Center is the agency's receiving office that ensures that all queries posted under the government’s eFOI portal are acted on in a timely manner.
Morente said the BI has put up several hotlines through which the public may send their concerns.
“We have set-up our hotlines to attend to queries 24/7, as well as our emails and social media pages that are known to immediately address concerns of the public,” said Morente.
“Apart from those, we also have our main office and other offices nationwide that entertains queries from persons who transact in their offices,” he added.
The PCOO has been giving the award every year to select government offices and non-government organizations that have made significant progress in affording citizens’ their right to access information on matters of public concern.
The BI is one of the government's busiest frontline service agencies as it caters mostly to international travelers coming in and out of the country.
Among its functions is to accept, process and approve applications for the various types of immigrant and non-immigrant visas of foreigners in the country.
Due to the enormity of its mandate and functions, the BI receives hundreds of requests for information from the public.
“This is just one of the many achievements of the Bureau that we wish to highlight,” said Morente.
“We will be relentless in our commitment to innovate to be able to provide better service to the public,” he added.