Philippines immigration to deploy facial recognition system at airports

Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) will deploy a facial recognition system that connects to the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) as part of its ongoing initiative to strengthen border security and to prevent undesirable foreign nationals from entering the country, according to a report by The Daily Tribune.

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the project will photograph all arriving and departing passengers when being processed at the immigration counters of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The images will then be cross-checked with the Interpol’s photo database to determine if they match any of the photos of millions of wanted fugitives, terrorists, sex offenders and holders of stolen passports worldwide.

Once the project becomes operational, the Philippines will be the first Southeast Asian country to be connected to the Interpol data system, Morente said.

There are currently digital cameras installed at BI counters in all three terminals of the NAIA, which are now being used by immigration officers to capture photographs of passengers.

“Eventually, our computers at the airport will be equipped with facial recognition capability that will enable us to immediately detect and apprehend an undesirable alien attempting to enter or flee the country,” Morente said, adding that the interconnectivity between the BI and Interpol is nearly in place as computer programmers from both agencies have been conducting dry runs and technical tests prior to the launching of the so-called Fixed Interpol Network Database project.

The new project will cross-check different Interpol databases in real-time at BI immigration counters to detect wanted fugitives, sex offenders, terrorists, UN Sanction List, individuals in possession of stolen lost travel documents and missing persons.

Morente said the names of persons of interest who are currently in the Interpol’s photo database were added to the BI’s blacklist.

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