MANILA -- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will deploy some 30 additional personnel in five border crossing stations in a bid to strengthen security in the country’s southern border.

Acting BI spokesperson Grifton Medina said more immigration officers (IOs) would be deployed to five areas bordering Malaysia and Indonesia.

“The BI has identified five border crossing stations, Batuganding, Balut island, south of Sarangani and Tibanban, Davao Oriental. These are in the southeastern part of the Philippines, bordering Indonesia,” he said in an interview.

“In the Southwestern part bordering Malaysia are: Bongao, Tawi Tawi; Balabac, Palawan and Taganak at the southern tip of Palawan. Taganak is close to Sandakan, Malaysia than the Philippines,” Medina added.

The BI official said that the personnel would be local hires.

“We aim to strengthen the southern border by recruiting locally hired immigration officers, taga doon. They will be trained. Thirty IOs to be trained. Six (IOs) per station,” he explained.

“We would have training for them especially on border crossing. Ang training namin ngayon as (compared) to regular IO training is iba (Our training now as compared to the regular IO is different). Arrival formalities/departure formalities,” Medina added.

The deployment of new IOs would start next month or January 2018.

He said that for this job, the training would be different.

Kapag border crossing, it is different. (It is different when you speak of border crossing.) Hindi ka lang mag-tatak (You will not just stamp.), you would have to identify persons of interests or would be human traffickers, victim of human traffickers or even terrorists.”

Mag-assign ang BI who would be familiar with the place (The BI will assign somebody who would be familiar with the place.), who would be very useful from there. They know the people, compared from somebody from Manila or other provinces na hindi taga-doon (who is from another place),” the BI official said.

Medina added that they would be implementing a 24-hour shifting to man the stations.

He also revealed that they strengthened their coordination with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy. (PNA)