MANILA, Philippines - Extortion scheme or not, the alleged laglag-bala (bullet-planting) operation at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has become a boon for one of the money earners in the nation’s principal gateway: wrapping of luggage in plastic.
Since the scandal erupted, more passengers have been having their bags wrapped tight to prevent pilferage and tampering.
Whatever the size of the luggage, the cost of plastic wrapping at the NAIA Terminal 3 is P160 per bag.
Plastic wrapping service started at the NAIA Terminal 1 when Alfonso Cusi was the airport manager, but there were few takers.
The plastic wrapping stall at NAIA 1 was closed for unknown reasons, according to NAIA 3 manager Octavio Lina.
When the alleged laglag-bala cases were recently exposed, plastic wrapping became a lucrative business at the NAIA Terminal 3.
Now, more passengers at NAIA 3 on international or domestic flights use the wrapping service, a clerk who requested not to be identified said.
“When the news broke out about the scam, several passengers spend more than a hundred pesos for their luggage because they believe it is safer than without plastic wrap,” the clerk added.
Some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who want to save money just use packaging tape to wrap their luggage before entering the airport.
Office of Transportation Security (OTS) said most of the interception of bullets occurred at the airport’s final security check, a few meters away from the boarding area.
Jess Martinez, assistant head of Media Affairs Division of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), said that, as always, it would be better for passengers to practice vigilance whenever traveling and going to places of public convergence.
“While it is unsettling that there is fear among our riding public, it is understandable. MIAA assures the public that all concerned agencies are closely looking into this already. Surveillance has been enhanced ever since reports were brought to the attention of management,” Martinez added.
The latest case occurred Sunday morning at the NAIA Terminal 1 when the carry-on bag of Nimfa Fontamillas, a 65-year-old passenger bound for Singapore, allegedly yielded a 9 mm bullet.
OTS members denied allegations that they were the one who planted bullets in passengers’ bags.
Republic Act 8294 penalizes “illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives and imposing stiffer penalties for certain violations.”
Source: Nov 3 Philstar