MANILA -- Immigration officers and agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports of entry were placed on heightened alert for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit and other related meetings to be held in various venues in the country in November.

With this, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente ordered the placing of different ports on high alert in a bid to thwart the possible entry of international terrorists.

He noted that they are coordinating with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the government and counterparts abroad to make sure that the event is conducted peacefully so as to enhance the country’s prestige in the international community.

“It is imperative that our men at the ports exercise extra vigilance in monitoring and screening all arriving foreign passengers so that those intending to disrupt the summit are not able to sneak into our country,” the BI chief said in a statement.

The Philippines is hosting next month’s ASEAN summit to be attended by heads of state from various countries, including the US, Japan and China. 

With this, the BI has instructed all immigration officers to conduct strict arrival and departure formalities and rigid primary inspection on passengers and crewmen, including those from special and chartered flights.

In particular, BI Port Operations Division head Marc Red Mariñas also ordered personnel assigned to the BI’s border control and intelligence units not only to monitor and ensure that all passengers pass immigration inspection but also assist in the “profiling” of the latter.

Suspicious looking passengers and those with doubtful purposes in visiting the country should be referred and meticulously subjected to secondary inspection by members of the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit.

Members of the BI-Interpol unit at the NAIA were instructed to maintain open lines of communication with the bureau’s counter-terrorist group and intelligence division, as well as with their counterparts from other government agencies, such as the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the Interpol. (PNA)