No more arrests for bullet amulets at NAIA

Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Office for Transportation Security (OTS) is experimenting on a scheme in which passengers found with a lone bullet in their luggage would be allowed to board their flights after surrendering the bullet.

This is meant to finally end the tanim bala or bullet-planting phobia at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, according to Bienvenido Denros, OTS team leader at the NAIA Terminal 1.

Denros said last Monday that the new rule is still in the experimental stage and would apply only if one live bullet is found in the luggage of a departing passenger, especially elderly people and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

He clarified that if they find a fully loaded bullet magazine or several bullets inside the luggage, the passenger would be apprehended.

He said once the X-ray machine at the departure area detects only one live bullet in the luggage, the OTS inspector will ask the passenger to view the X-ray monitor to look at the bullet without anybody touching the subject luggage.

Denros said the inspector would then ask the passenger to get the bullet from the bag and surrender it to the OTS and the passenger would be allowed to board his plane without any interrogation or even charges of violating the law.

“We ask them (passenger) if you still want to leave. If they say yes, then we will ask them to open their luggage and get the bullet and surrender it to us, then we will let them go,” Denros explained.

Denros recalled that last Saturday afternoon at NAIA Terminal 1, the X-ray scan detected a live bullet and two empty shells inside the check-in luggage of a departing OFW.

“I called the attention of the OFW and asked him to view his luggage that contained a bullet through the X-ray monitor and asked him politely if he still wanted to proceed to the Middle East, and he replied, yes please,” Denros said.

He told the OFW to open his luggage, get the bullet and surrender it to the OTS.After doing this, he was allowed to board his flight without being charged with any violation.

The OFW, whose identity was withheld, thanked the OTS team several times and continued waving his hand while walking toward the airline counters.

Denros said the new rule is part of the review of regulations of the OTS security check.

He said that many people still believe in bullets as amulets or good luck charms, and some passengers are caught in the airport with amulets in their luggage.


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