Naia bag handlers defy antitheft, ‘no pocket’ rule
The “no pocket policy” for airport personnel handling passengers’ bags remains in effect, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Monreal issued the reminder after 20 baggage loaders were caught with sewn-on pockets on their uniforms—a violation of the policy introduced in 2008—during a random inspection.
According to Monreal, the no pocket policy strictly applies to all loaders assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) baggage breakdown and buildup areas. The prohibition has been in effect since November 2008 to prevent cases of pilferage among airline-employed bag handlers.
During a random inspection of the baggage breakdown and buildup areas conducted last month by MIAA Assistant General Manager for Security Allen Capuyan, some 20 personnel were accosted for having stitched-on pockets on their uniforms.
They were reprimanded for violating the regulation and warned that a second offense would mean the cancelation of their access passes to Naia, thus barring them from restricted areas within the airport complex.
Monreal, meanwhile, proposed that airlines consider prohibiting plane cleaners from wearing jewelry to avoid being accused of stealing from passengers.
“This will further promote the virtue of honesty as it will encourage aircraft cleaners to turn over valuable items, especially jewelry, that they find inside the aircraft while cleaning,” he said.
Airline security personnel earlier told the Inquirer that most pilferage cases happen at the baggage breakdown and buildup areas, a restricted section where passengers’ luggage are sorted for loading or unloading from airplanes.
Baggage pilferage, Monreal said in another interview, is usually addressed by the airlines which compensate passengers for damaged luggage or missing valuables. Airline firms also employ their own security complement to secure their passengers’ luggage.