DOTr, MIAA: ‘Tanim bala’ a thing of the past
Authorities on Sunday assuaged fears that “tanim bala” incidents at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) had resurged after a passenger claimed on Friday that a 9 mm bullet had been planted in her luggage.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in separate statements that an investigation showed there were no irregularities in the search of the passenger’s bag and that tanim bala “[was] already a thing of the past.”
The agencies also submitted reports to Malacañang in compliance with the deadline set by President Duterte who earlier ordered an investigation after the passenger, Kristine Bumanlag Moran, said in a viral Facebook post that “tanim bala is real.”
Moran said she and her mother were undergoing a security check at Naia Terminal 3 for their flight to Zamboanga when an airport officer opened her brown suitcase for inspection.
“To my shock and dismay, I saw a bullet inside the front pocket of my baggage,” said her post, which has been shared almost 70,000 times.
But the DOTr statement said Moran’s baggage was still wrapped in plastic when the bullet was spotted by the X-ray operator, casting doubt on the possibility that it had been planted by airport personnel.
Moran herself removed the clear plastic wrap of her luggage and the search was recorded “to allay fears of a tanim bala scheme,” it said.
After the bullet was confiscated, authorities told Moran she would be allowed to board her flight once the incident had been documented, according to the MIAA.
“Unfortunately, even after these assurances, [Moran] created a scene and uttered foul allegations [against] the airport personnel,” DOTr said.
It added that Moran was not asked to bribe airport personnel in exchange for being able to board her flight.
“Finding ammunition or other prohibited items is a fairly common incident during baggage screening. Standard procedures have been put in place to ensure that passengers will not be subjected to unnecessary hassle,” it said.
The DOTr and MIAA also chided Moran indirectly, telling the public to “refrain from making assumptions” and “be more circumspect in reacting to social media posts.”
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