OFFICERS of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) underwent rigorous trainings to be updated on the latest trends on counter-terrorism as well as anti-trafficking methods.

The BI men trained with other government agencies involved in counter-terrorism efforts last week.

The BI personnel underwent a five-day hybrid training on enhancing national capabilities to detect and prevent travel of terrorists and serious criminals by using API and PNR systems.

The API and PNR systems are the primary systems involved in the Bureau’s Advance Passenger Information System (Apis), which is an electronic data exchange system that would allow the BI to receive advance information about arriving aliens.

“This data would particularly be useful in preventing the entry of suspected terrorists to the country,” said Melvin Mabulac, head of the BI’s Apis office.

The seminar is part of the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Program and was spearheaded by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, together with the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the International Civil Aviation Organization, Interpol, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Office of Information and Communications Technology, and supported by the Australian Government.

Meanwhile, BI officers conducting primary and secondary duties at the airport underwent a three-day virtual training on human rights, gender-sensitive, and child-friendly approaches on trafficking in persons (TIP) handling for frontline officers, which was organized by the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, in partnership with the Asean-Australia Counter Trafficking.

Immigration officers from Asean member states were among those who attended said training.

Apart from participating, a representative from the BI also served as a speaker and shared experiences on the ground to other attendees, as well as the procedures the BI conducts in detecting potential victims of trafficking at ports of entry and exit.

“These trainings improve the quality of our personnel to better implement some of our key roles,” said Morente.

“The pandemic did not stop these terrorists or these traffickers from their illicit activities. In fact, there is more reason for us to be alert and on guard in these trying times. Our cooperation with our international counterparts will greatly aid us in ensuring that our borders and our people are protected from these grave threats,” he added.