BUSINESS  GROUP  ASSURED  OF  FASTER  ALIEN  CARD  PROJECT

MANILA, February 8, 2005 (STAR) The government recently assured the influential business group Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) that it will speed up the implementation of the Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card (ACR I-Card) project of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to further upgrade services to the expatriate community and clamp down on transnational crimes.

The assurance was made at a meeting between JFC leaders and key Palace officials . The JFC is composed of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines and Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The meeting followed the recent launching by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) of the system called Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card (ACR I-Card).

The system, is based on biometric technology which is being used by the United States Department of Homeland Security following the 9/11 incidents. It is expected to significantly reduce processing time for alien documentation and reduce incidents of drug trafficking, human smuggling and terrorism in the country.

In a memorandum, Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. ordered the incorporation of the special return certificate, the re-entry permit and the annual report for legal aliens into the ACR I-Card.

Fernandez also ordered the setting up of special processing lanes for ACR I-Card holders at departure and arrival counters at NAIA terminals I and II.

"This will guarantee that ACR I-Card holders are granted expedited service through dedicated processing booths," Fernandez said.

The government also assured the JFC that data capturing stations for ACR I-Card applicants are being set up in various parts of the country.

This will ensure that the processing of ACR I-Card applications will be convenient, Fernandez said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri earlier said the BI project could net the government some P190 million annually, or approximately P1.5 billion over the next 10 years. The project is a build-operate-transfer (BOT) undertaking and involves no cost and no risk to the government.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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