Poe, dela Rosa urge authorities to act on new modus at Naia
MANILA, Philippines —Three senators pressed airport authorities to penalize erring personnel, urging them to file cases and fire employees engaging in criminal activities.
Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, described the alleged and viral thievery at the airport involving an Office of Transportation Security (OTS) officer as “infuriating and embarrassing.”
“Parang hindi nauubusan ng gimik ang mga kawatan sa airport. [Pero] maaaring ang nakita sa CCTV ay hindi ang buong kwento. May mga report pa na nagsasabing inutusan ang OTS personnel na gawin ito para hindi mahuli. Ibig sabihin, may mga kasabwat pa ito,” said Poe in a statement on Thursday.
(It seems that airport thieves never run out of gimmicks. [But] what was seen on CCTV may not be the whole story. There are even reports that OTS [staff] was ordered to do this to avoid being caught. That means there are accomplices.)
According to Poe, the Naia leadership should immediately file complaints and eventually fire employees who would be found involved in this elaborate scheme.
She then urged Naia’s security office to “properly vet” applicants and conduct a thorough reinterview of existing employees to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, in a separate statement on Wednesday evening, said Naia’s OTS and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) should get to the bottom of this newly-discovered scheme.
“We are hurting our own reputation before the international arena if this crime is not being addressed immediately,” said dela Rosa.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said how can we “Love the Philippines” if acts such as this remain rampant?
Villanueva then stressed that one of the keys to attract more tourists is by ensuring that the country is safe from criminals.
“How can we convince tourists to love the Philippines when their security is threatened as soon as they land at our airport? Let’s give them a happy experience, not a horror story,” said Villanueva.
Similar to the calls of Poe and dela Rosa, Villanueva also urged the DOTr to immediately conduct an investigation into the matter.
“Kasabay nito, dapat magsagawa ng retraining at assessment sa mga airport personnel, at maging mapanuri sa pagtanggap ng aplikante para matiyak na hindi tayo nagpapasweldo sa mga kawatan,” he added.
(At the same time, we must conduct retraining and assessment of airport personnel, and be critical in accepting applicants to ensure that we are not paying thieves.)