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Saturday, September 21, 2019

UN warns staff in Philippines: 'Mind your luggage'

THE United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) warned Wednesday its staff in the Philippines against the "tanim-bala" scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In an internal memo, the department, which "ensures the security for staff and eligible dependents," even asked their staff to lock their luggage and wrap their bags in plastics when leaving through the international airport.

"Staff members are advised to keep your luggage with you, lock your luggage, and consider wrapping your luggage in plastic as an extra security measure," the agency said.

"Surveillance at the airport has been stepped up since the complaints began and an investigation has been launched into the personnel accused of involvement," it added.

The warning was issued amid rising incidents of bullets allegedly being planted in the bags of the passengers as a form of extortion.

Records from the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup) said that the number of travelers apprehended with bullets in their bags was the highest in four years.

A total of 105 cases were recorded from January to November this year while there were only 12 incidents in 2014, 21 in 2013, and 20 in 2012.

The PNP Avsegroup downplayed the alleged syndicate behind the bullet-planting scam, saying Filipinos were known to carry a bullet as "lucky charm."

The "tanim-bala" scam has brought international spotlight on the Philippines as various media organizations aired the report in their respective countries to warn citizens against the racket.

Social media is also abuzz with calls for the resignation of Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya and other airport officials, but Malacañang shrugged them off. (CVB/Sunnex)

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