Bomb joke disrupts flights in Tacloban


A misunderstanding between a departing passenger and an airline security personnel ended with a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Airbus A320 disembarked before it can take off and delaying flights that were to land at the airport on Wednesday afternoon.

The PAL plane was already boarding the last few passengers when a security personnel alerted the pilot of a possible bomb.

It appeared that when the guard asked passenger Archie Jay Veloria of the contents of his bag, the latter responded saying ‘Ala namang granada. Di ba bawal yan dito?’ [There is no grenade. Isn’t it prohibited here?]

The word ‘grenade’ prompted the guard to inform his higher ups who alerted the pilot and other security officers. The pilot reportedly ordered all passengers off-loaded to allow the Aviation police and the K9 units to do a security clearing operation.

Although the plane was later declared safe for departure, it prevented at least two flights from landing at the airport Wednesday afternoon.

An officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in Tacloban said that it could have just been a misunderstanding between the passenger and the guard but reminded all passengers to refrain from cracking jokes about bombs.

Cracking jokes about bombs or explosives in airplanes, airports and other related facility is a violation of Presidential Decree 1727, which prohibits a “malicious dissemination of false information or the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives, or any similar device or means of destruction.” A violator can be jailed for up to five years and fined a maximum of P40,000.

According to the CAAP report, Veloria was brought by the Tacloban Aviation Police to the prosecutor’s office for inquest.


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