MANILA, Philippines - the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said its main office in Intramuros, Manila will reopen for business on Monday and resume its services to the transacting public. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente made the announcement exactly a week after the BI closed its main building for disinfection to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which was contracted by one of its employees.
In an advisory issued last Thursday, Morente advised individuals with confirmed online appointments to check their new schedule and other related announcements by accessing the BI’s website at immigration.gov.ph. New protocols require all persons intending to transact at the BI main office to register and obtain their schedule via the BI’s newly-launched online appointment system.
The entry of walk-in applicants is strictly prohibited in order to limit the number of people and achieve physical distancing inside the building. News that a BI employee tested positive for the virus also prompted Morente to immediately order the conduct of mass rapid antibody test for all officials and employees assigned at the BI main office. The tests started last Wednesday and Thursday and more will be done this week. Meanwhile, in the same advisory, He further instructed employees who have yet to undergo the tests to continue to work from home.
He said the employees have the option to undergo the rapid tests at any accredited government hospital or facility duly licensed to conduct such tests. BI Chief earlier directed all the BI’s more than 3,000 employees nationwide to undergo a mandatory rapid tests, saying the measure is necessary amid the continuing rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Employees of BI offices outside of Metro Manila were instructed to coordinate with their Local Government Units (LGU) for the conduct of said tests free of charge.