The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has assured thousands of Filipino Muslims, who are planning to make the Haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia next month, of a fast and hassle-free immigration processing upon their departure from the airport.
In a statement released on Saturday, Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said an operations circular has been released stating the BI’s procedures in processing the departing Haj pilgrims.
“This is our way of extending support and courtesy to our Muslim brothers who are embarking on this pilgrimage which is considered as one of Islam’s most sacred and important religious events,” Tansingco said.
Moreover, the BI circular directs the agency’s airport terminal heads to designate focal persons, who will coordinate with officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, in acquiring an advance list of passengers who will be traveling to Mecca for the said pilgrimage.
The BI will then subject passengers in the list to advance derogatory checking and verify if any one of them are subjects of hold departure orders or watchlist orders.
A special lane for Haj pilgrims will also be created in different airports to ensure a quick immigration process before their departure.
Meanwhile, the BI’s Border Control and Intelligence Unit were ordered to assist the pilgrims in queuing at the airport’s immigration departure counter prior to their flights.
This, as part of the BI and Department of Justice’s efforts in assisting Haj pilgrims. Over 7,000 Filipino Muslims are expected to join this year’s Haj pilgrimage.