EDITORIAL - Airport thievery

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Airport thievery

Let’s hope precious lessons are learned after the government dropped MIASCOR as ground handler for several airports in the country including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The aviation service provider, which has been in business since 1974, was given the boot after an overseas Filipino worker found his luggage damaged and looted earlier this month at the MIASCOR office at Clark International Airport.

In a meeting with OFWs earlier this week, President Duterte warned he would fire airport officials if the pilferage was repeated. In turn, the Manila International Airport Authority announced last Friday that it would no longer renew its contract with MIASCOR upon the expiration of the concession on March 31.

The company said it would appeal the decision even as it fired and filed criminal charges against six of its employees for the pilferage. MIASCOR also compensated the victim for the lost items amounting to P82,824. The company, which describes itself as the largest and most experienced provider of aviation services in the country, said nearly 4,000 employees would be affected by the scrapping of its contract.

Whether this would move President Duterte to a reconsideration remains to be seen. The President has shown a soft spot not only for soldiers and police but also for overseas workers. He has also shown he means business when it comes to dealing with airport crooks, who have brought shame to the nation.

Among his widely applauded first acts upon assuming office was to put an end to the extortion racket involving the planting of bullets in the luggage of passengers at the NAIA. The scandal had led to the sorry spectacle of travelers covering their luggage almost entirely  in plastic wrap before putting the items through the NAIA x-ray machine.

Following the thievery at Clark, all baggage handlers are now required to wear body cameras. Apart from implementing deterrent measures, authorities must see to it that any airport thief is successfully prosecuted. Air travel is unpleasant enough for the average passenger. Seeing one’s luggage damaged and personal belongings looted is unforgivable in any airport.

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