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Australia trains Philippine and ASEAN ‘Future Leaders’on border and regional immigration responses to COVID-19

Seven senior officers from the Bureau of Immigration, alongside counterparts from the ASEAN region, completed training on COVID-19 response delivered by the Australian Department of Home Affairs and renowned Australian research institution RMIT University.

The inclusion of Philippine senior immigration officials in the training program is an excellent example of Australia and the Bureau’s close cooperation and commitment to joint and regional programmes.

Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO said, “Australia is committed to supporting the Philippines’ response to COVID-19, and this includes preparing for the resumption of travel and improving readiness for future pandemics. In the spirit of mateship and bayanihan, we are pleased to be able to work with the Bureau of Immigration on this leadership training course, which is being delivered online for the first time.”

“The Border Control Agency Management Program (BCAMP) Upskill–Pandemic Preparedness program supported 54 immigration and border officers from ten ASEAN countries who are at the forefront of international efforts to oversee border closures and resumption of travel, Ms Jane Honner, Chief Immigration Officer and Counsellor at The Australian Embassy in Manila said.

BCAMP Upskill-Pandemic Preparedness is a four-week Australian Government-sponsored training program, delivered in partnership with the RMIT University branch in Hanoi, Vietnam. Its four key themes are: challenges faced by immigration agencies; best practices during the COVID-19 crisis; reopening borders; and preparations for future pandemics, with a focus on building skills and connections between immigration stakeholders.

Since 2010, BCAMP has provided specialised training for immigration, border and customs officers from the ASEAN countries including the Philippines. “This long-running initiative is a prime example of the cooperation between Australia, the Philippines and other countries to address problems of regional magnitude,” Honner said.

“These courses provided an opportunity to pioneer a a practical, online, flexible and part-time course for BCAMP alumni during the pandemic. Delivered in July to August, and in November to December 2020, the program allowed participants to learn while still fulfilling their daily work duties and other commitments,” she added.

Bureau of Immigration’s Deputy Commissioner, Atty. Aldwin Alegre CPA LLM, delivered the keynote video presentation and shared his personal strategic insight on leadership. “This regional training program is essential as part of the Philippine’s preparation to open up travel and improve our readiness for future pandemics. We are grateful to Australia for their continued support. All the Filipino participants have expressed how useful the training was, specially in developing a closer relationship with their ASEAN counterparts.”


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