MANILA – All offices of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces that are under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have scaled down their operations to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Tuesday said some offices will operate with a skeletal workforce and on shortened working hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until April 4 “or until the ECQ is lifted.”

He said covered by the downsizing of the workforce to prevent Covid-19 transmission in their workplaces are all BI offices in the so-called “bubble” area—National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Morente also instructed officials and employees who are pregnant and persons with immune deficiency, comorbidity, and other serious health problems to work from home instead of going to their offices.

Aside from the BI main office in Intramuros in Manila, the BI operates satellite and extension offices in Makati, Pasay, Taguig, Quezon City, and Las Pinas. Its student visa office is likewise found in Quezon City.

The Bureau also has field offices in Dasmariñas City, Cavite; Santa Rosa City, Laguna; and Taytay City, Rizal.

The directive was issued pursuant to the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to President Rodrigo Duterte to place NCR and four nearby provinces under ECQ from March 29 to April 4.

Meanwhile, Morente assured the public that BI personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will continue to report for duty on three shifts daily and ensure that all international flights are served and processed by immigration officers without interruption.

“Nonetheless, we have also instructed our port operations division (POD) to temporarily reduce the number of its personnel reporting for duty in each shift and lessen the number of their duty days until such time that the surge of the coronavirus is contained,” he said in a statement.

Earlier, it was announced that the international inbound passenger capacity at NAIA shall be limited to a maximum of 1,500 passengers per day. (PNA)