THIS will be a rant about airport management based on what has happened and is happening. If you cannot take it, stop reading now.
I have been a victim of the rotten and corrupt habits that airport personnel seem to have in spades.
When my car battery ran out in a parallel parking space which means my car was not blocking any traffic, an airport security guard (I still have his name) quickly alerted a favored and predatory towing company despite my informing him that I had already called the Automobile Association of the Philippines towing service and they would be there in half an hour. I wasted my breath, the towing company gangsters towed my car all the way to Bicutan despite a request to leave the car at the nearest gasoline station.
I raised hell with the MMDA, the LTO and Consumer Assistance Association as well as the airport manager. All of them replied except for the airport manager, the nearest to the crime scene. It turned out the towing company’s license was still in process, the ownership was vague and their personnel were in effect running an illegal operation. And there was obvious collusion with airport security guards. Did the airport management care? Of course not.
Then there was the town mayor who was assassinated right outside the airport which should have been caught on CCTV but alas, after four years the airport management had not come around to bidding out and ordering the system. The excuse was insulting to intelligent minds.
Now comes the bullets-in-your luggage incidents, too many to be genuine by statistics and comparison with other airports of the world. It happened time and time again particularly with OFWs or hapless foreigners (remember the missionary’s 20-year-old son who supposedly had a bullet in his bag?). Complaints were already in high decibels. Did they do something to reassure the public that the matter was being dealt with, investigated, addressed? No, instead there was more of the same.
So, now there is a complete loss of faith in airport personnel particularly the Office of the Transport Service. Who hired these misfits? What are their credentials? Why are they so brazen? This may mean there is an organized method, a system in the works that finds bullets in bags whose owners did not put them there. Now they claim to be demoralized. They brought this on themselves.
And what is that mealy-mouthed statement by the boss of the Office of Transport Security, whose employees are under wholesale suspicion, taunting the public why until now no one has filed a case against any of his dubious employees? Very simple, because everyone wants to get out from their vicinity, are incensed by what they are being accused of, have been targets of blackmail and are running to the farthest point – out of the country, out of their clutches, putting them out of their minds for the aggravation it causes them. They certainly know who to pick on – the helpless OFWs, the innocent foreigners, the legitimate seekers of medical service, etc.
This chief and his cohorts claim that they are innocent until proven guilty and to please file a case if one is feeling victimized. With the justice delay in this country what fool who has business abroad would care to stay here for the next 3 to 5 years to pursue a case? Who are they kidding?
Meanwhile for all the world to see travelers passing through the airport encase their luggage in virtual armor, put notices that they do not have bullets in their luggage, do not want the Office of Transport Service to touch their stuff. After seeing on CCTV this same personnel surreptitiously filch a bag of an OFW and make it disappear (a collusion of 3 people who do not seem to have been charged with the evidence on national television) is it something to wonder about? What about the Office of Transport Security filing a case against them? We have not heard of it.
The airport has been mismanaged for some years now. The DOTC Secretary claims that the bullet incidents have been blown out of proportion using the statistic of how many passengers pass through the airport and the minuscule number caught with bullets, comparatively speaking. Well, one murder in a population of millions is still murder. If those bullets were planted, small as there number may be, they are still crimes. Using statistics to in effect over up is begging the question. The public does not buy it. It is now a matter of perception that the officials must be held responsible. If I were the management seeing all the distrust in graphic images of plastic and tape-encased luggage, particularly hand luggage, I would have resigned sometime ago.
If I were the Office of Transport Service boss I would not have the thick face to come out on television and display my insensitivity to what my fellow citizens, whom I am supposed to serve, have undergone, are complaining about and feel victimized by his office. Staying on keeps the distrust up. Plastic and tape will be the leitmotif of their tenure in office. And that is the ultimate disgrace not resignation.
Taxpayers, Filipino citizens, travelers do not deserve the abuses that are rampant and rampaging at the airport. Worse, the display of indifference and insensitivity, virtual stonewalling on crimes committed, are intolerable. This is the attitude not of servant leaders but of predators.