MANILA — Some Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel will be undertaking a crash course on foreign language next year to be able to communicate well with foreign visitors including Chinese nationals.
BI Personnel Section chief Grifton Medina said the bureau, through Commissioner Jaime Morente and the University of the Philippines (UP) Chancellor, have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last October that will provide Mandarin language course for immigration officers (IOs).
“This is to prepare us with the influx of Chinese national arrivals would equip our Immigration officers with customized, at least with conversational Mandarin,” he said in an earlier interview.
“It’ll give the IO a tool to communicate well and understand the Chinese (travellers),” the BI official added.
The language course could be taken up from one month to six months.
Medina said the target is to start training next year, “it is going to be a customized language course to suit the conversation of an IO and a pax.”
The move seeks to smoothly facilitate the processing of Chinese visitors to the country, as many of them are either not fluent in English or do not speak English at all, he noted.
Aside from communicating with the foreign visitors, allowing IOs to speak basic Chinese language would also equip them in identifying real tourists from illegal or excludable aliens.
“The main thing there we could now give tool to immig officers identifying who are the tourists, the legitimate tourists as to those who are illegal or excludable aliens,” Medina said.
The signatories of the MOA are also looking to expand the language course to Korean and Japanese.
BI data showed that a total of 796,487 visitors from China arrived in the country from January to November 2017.