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Escudero: No cut in BI workers’ pay with reimbursements to passengers

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Senator Francis Escudero has assured employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) that their salaries will not be affected by reimbursements to passengers due to long immigration assessments.

Addressing the issue on his social media account X (formerly Twitter) over the weekend, Escudero said there is nowhere in the 2024 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) that says that the funds to be used to repay the affected passengers will be coming from the budget for employees’ salary and augmentation allowances.

There is a provision in the GAB that allows the reimbursement of thousands of passengers who missed their flights due to long immigration assessments.

“Any diminution from the salary and augmentation of BI personnel is illegal and unauthorized,” Escudero said.

He reiterated that based on his proposal that was adopted in the final GAB, the reimbursement fund will come from the excess income of the BI that is being returned annually to the National Treasury.

“The money to refund offloaded passengers will not come from/nor will it be deducted from BI personnel,” he stressed.

“I will look closely into this to ensure that the intent and mandate of Congress regarding this is followed to the letter.”

Earlier, Escudero said the proposed payment will not need additional budgetary requirement since the money will be charged against the BI’s earnings from collections.

According to BI records, a total of 32,404 Filipino passengers were not allowed to proceed with their flights last year, of which 472 were found to be victims of human trafficking or illegal recruitment.

Escudero also remains hopeful that President Marcos will not veto the provision in the GAB, which is set to be signed into law on Dec. 20, according to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. 

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