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Watch your bags at Manila airport

MANILA (Agencies) : Bishop Ruperto Santos is warning migrant workers against the latest scam of security personnel at Noynoy Aquino International Airport—slipping bullets into people’s luggage in order to extort money from them (tanim-bala), even when their own bags are being searched in front of them.

“These are shameful and criminal acts of extortion that prey on our citizens, especially our balikbayan and Overseas Filipino Workers, and also our guests from foreign lands who arrive in our country,” the chairperson of the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People told CBCP News.

The bishop is advising migrant workers and all overseas travellers to exercise a high degree of caution when moving through the airport.

He advises making a list of the contents of all bags and boxes, and to take pictures as they are being packed.

“When accosted by security personnel, be ready with your cell phone to take pictures or video them,” he advised.

“Insist that you be the one to open your luggage while the security people watch. If they insist on opening your luggage, watch their actions and take pictures. Make sure that you take down their names,” Bishop Santos said.

He said the Church understands that security personnel have a duty to perform, especially in enforcing laws concerning contraband.

“However, they should not use these same laws to extort money and prey on the innocent, and even allow those who are guilty to go scot-free,” he said.

“Our security personnel should concentrate on protecting the passengers and ensuring their safety, rather than harassing them,” Bishop Santos added.

He called on the government to investigate these incidents thoroughly, rigorously and diligently.

“They should make sure that everything comes to light and those who are guilty brought to justice,” he concluded.