THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) said its officers at the airports are now prepared for an influx of arriving international passengers following the government's decision to reopen the country to foreign tourists beginning February 10, 2022.

"We are ready and we have the available manpower to address this projected increase in passenger volume in our airports," Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

Morente reported a sharp decline in the number of immigration officers infected with Covid-19.

As of Monday, 401 BI personnel, who underwent isolation and quarantine, have already returned to work.

"We continue to operate at full capacity in the airports as we anticipate an increase in international flights and passengers in the next few weeks," the BI chief added.

Lawyer Carlos Capulong, BI port operations chief, said as of January 31, only 23 immigration officers assigned at airports are still recovering from Covid-19.

Capulong said 14 of these personnel were stationed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), four at the Clark airport, two in Mactan, two in Kalibo, and one in Davao.

"To cope with a sudden or unusual increase in passenger volume we have formed a reserve team of immigration officers from other BI offices who will be tapped to augment and assist our frontliners at the airport if the need arises,'' Capulong said.

Under the latest resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, fully vaccinated foreign tourists coming from countries under Executive Order 408 were again allowed to enter the country without a visa for 30 days.

The BI advised airlines and the traveling public to check the updated guidelines on the bureau's website and Facebook page.