February 23, 2024

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The Philippines Rolls Out eTravel System

Image credit: dict.gov.ph

Following the complete implementation of the Electronic Travel Information System or eTravel system, travellers entering and exiting the Philippines can now enjoy streamlined and more convenient immigration procedures.

eTravel is a centralised data collection mechanism for passengers entering and leaving the Philippines. The development of the system is a response to travellers’ demands to eliminate the repetitive process of filling out similar forms and waiting in lengthy lines, which causes them to arrive at the airport hours before their flights or miss them entirely.

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Tourism (DOT), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) collaborated to develop the streamlined electronic travel declaration system.

On 5 December 2022, the eTravel system was officially introduced to inbound travellers, and since then, the eTravel has been effectively scanned by over 3.5 million passengers, 54.04% of whom hold Philippine passports and 47.94% foreign passports. It has also notified airport authorities of 67,042 COVID-19-related issues.

According to DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy, the eTravel system demonstrates the Department’s increased efforts to assist other government agencies with their e-governance initiatives. The DICT envisions a linked government powered by ICT, with all departments’ data exchange and synergy integrated into a unified system. This will increase convenience and bring government services closer to citizens.

Similarly, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco praised the eTravel system as a tool that will streamline BI operations, noting that it not only speeds up immigration clearance but also assures interoperability across border management organisations and saves government resources.

Travellers should register and update their status at the eTravel portal, which is now accessible via a web browser at etravel.gov.ph, 72 hours before their intended arrival or departure in the Philippines.

The free technology will be incorporated into the eGov PH Super App, a one-stop portal for local and national government services that streamlines government operations and transactions.

Further, as a step toward getting high-speed Internet in Luzon, the DICT recently held the National Fibre Backbone (NFB) Phase 1 Spectrum Light-up Ceremony at the Baler Cable Landing Station in Baler, Aurora. This was part of the NFB Phase 1 Spectrum Light-up Ceremony.

During the event, the first 100 Gbps connection was made between the cable landing stations in Los Angeles, California, and the San Fernando, La Union CLS. The link-up is part of the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI), which will deliver high-speed internet connectivity to Northern Luzon and Metro Manila once the NFB Phase 1 is online.

DICT Secretary Ivan welcomed the connection link-up as a watershed moment in the LBI project’s completion. He described connectedness as a tool that improves the lives of Filipinos, particularly those living in remote and isolated locations. This network will provide residents and businesses in the region with quicker and more dependable internet connectivity, as well as increase competitiveness in the worldwide market.

Aside from the Spectrum Lighting Ceremony, Secretary Ivan oversaw the ceremonial activation of Broadband ng Masa (BBM) installations in Baler, a government programme that aims to offer inexpensive and dependable internet connection to underserved and unserved communities throughout the country.

This attempts to bridge the digital divide and boost socioeconomic growth in the Philippines’ underprivileged areas. The programme can promote education, healthcare, commercial prospects, and social connectivity in these communities by providing affordable and dependable internet access.

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