BALANGA City: The Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (ECMI – CBCP) on Tuesday called for an investigation of the “laglag-bala” incidents or the act of placing bullets in a passenger’s baggage that are reportedly committed by airport security personnel.
“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,” said ECMI – CBCP Chairman Ruperto Santos, bishop of the Diocese of Balanga.
Santos called on the government, especially airport officials to investigate these incidents thoroughly.
“They should make sure that everything comes to light and those who are guilty be brought to justice. We understand that our security personnel at our ports of entry have a duty and responsibility to perform, especially in enforcing our laws with regards to contraband items,” the Bataan prelate said.
He warned authorities not to extort money, victimize the innocent, and fail to nab those who are guilty.
Santos asked security personnel to concentrate on protecting the passengers and ensuring their safety, rather than harassing them.
To travelers, especially to OFWs, Bishop Santos advised them to be cautious and to make a list of the contents of their bags and boxes and take pictures as they pack the items.
When accosted by security personnel, he urged travelers to be ready with their cell phones to take pictures or video and to insist that they open their own luggage in front of the security people.
If the security personnel insist on opening the luggage, the bishop advised OFWs and other travelers to watch their actions and take pictures and take down their names.
“We are one with government in making our country a safe place, and that includes being safe from wayward persons of authority who inflict harm rather than good,” Santos said.