Immigration officers nationwide wore red armbands on Friday amid delayed salaries and non-payment of overtime pay since January this year.
The wearing of red armbands, a sign of silent protest, was also a reminder to their higher officials and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) regarding the issue.
A manifesto signed by Buklod ng mga Kawani ng CID (Buklod) and Immigration Officers Association of the Philippines (IOAP), the association of officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), said the silent protest “will never disrupt immigration operations. We just want the government to heed our grievances regarding our very low salaries.”
The Immigration officers who joined the silent protest are from Zamboanga International Airport, Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro, Kalibo International Airport, Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, Puerto Princesa International Airport, General Santos International Airport, Laoag International Airport, Subic Bay International Airport, Clark International Airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Red Mariñas, BI Port Operations Division chief, said in spite of the move, the operation was normal.
“It’s just that BI personnel decided to wear red armbands as a call on the President [Rodrigo Duterte] to help us in our current situation regarding salary augmentation,” Mariñas added.
In February, he said BI employees were only given basic pay from the DBM and the overtime pay has not been released, resulting in some employees failing to report for work, purposely slowing down or filing a leave of absence.
Mariñas, however, assured that there was no work slowdown in Friday’s silent protest.
BI officers at the NAIA in October 16, 2012 wore yellow armbands as a protest against “unlawful” suspension of the overtime pay.
Then-Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima issued a memorandum, copy furnished then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd, recommending a stop to Customs, Immigration and Quarantine charging airlines for the overtime pay.
On August 3, 2012, then-Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd reportedly wrote the Board of Airline Representatives and the Airline Operators Council, advising them to stop paying overtime to Quarantine personnel.
BENJIE L. VERGARA