DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Nov) – Authorities at the F. Bangoy International Airport have been distributing flyers and posting tarpaulins and stickers on taxis, giving tips to passengers how to avoid the “laglag bala” extortion scheme.
This after a string of “laglag bala” incidents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and last Friday’s incident at the local airport involving Engr. Augusto Dagan Y. Dorde, 60, of JV Angeles Construction Corp. worried passengers that they might be accused of violating Republic Act 8294, which penalizes “illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition, or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives, and imposing stiffer penalties for certain violation.”
Dorde was arrested around 9:40 a.m. after he was reportedly bringing two live bullets in his baggage when he passed through the initial screening checkpoint.
He was scheduled to board PAL flight PR 1813 bound for Manila at 11:40 a.m.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Chief Insp. Eugene Balugo, chief of the F. Bangoy International Airport’s Police Station and PNP Aviation Security Unit 11, said they started giving out flyers on Monday, a day after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte suspected some of the police and airport workers were involved in the same scheme.
Balugo said that everything goes smoothly at the airport, although some of the passengers packed their baggage with plastic to ensure that they will not be victimized by the extortion scheme.
He assured to protect the public from the scheme.
The flyers, posters, and stickers contain tips such as: strictly monitor all luggage and never allow strangers to handle them; zipper, pouches, pockets of the luggage must be closed, locked, and sealed; never lose sight of the luggage upon passing through security X-Ray and walk-through metal detectors; immediately retrieve bags as it exits the X-ray machine; and refrain from accepting any luggage or items from strangers.
“Reminder: Air Travel Security is Everybody’s Concern. Be VIGILANT!!!” it reads.
“We posted the stickers on the taxis,” Balugo said.
He added that 50 taxis have been posted with stickers on Wednesday morning while the tarpaulins have been posted around the airport, most specifically at the taxi bay.
He said that a representative from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) already met with security forces and workers of the airport to deter the “laglag bala” scheme.
But Balugo said he will meet with them separately at 9 a.m. on Thursday to remind them that they should not allow themselves to be involved in the extortion scheme.
“They should be vigilant,” he said.