IT seems the Kingdom of Walang Hiya has come up with new chapters to aggravate an already aggravated public. For those who do not yet know, it is also known as the Manila International Airport. It has a hero’s name attached to it but I will not use it now so as not to sully the hero’s name with the shameless activities that are going on there as we speak.
For some time, the Kingdom of Walang Hiya has been perpetrating a bullet scam known colloquially as tanimbala. Using a law that has to be amended for its sweeping and unrestricted provision that anyone found carrying a bullet in his person or luggage must be stopped in his tracks, investigated, tried and jailed if found guilty, there have been all kinds of scenes where travelers, usually out-bound, are stopped when found to have a bullet (whether an amulet, or an empty bullet with no powder in its casing), causing their trip to be aborted pending investigation and even detention until allowed bail. Many of those apprehended have expressed shock and surprise that a bullet was found among their effects. Some in panic have acceded to proposals from the same uniformed personnel who accuse them of possessing bullets to pay them off and continue on their trip. In other words, a lucrative frame-up was in place victimizing thousands. Maybe millions.
Why do I say that? Because it has obviously been going on for years. A relative who lives in Canada tells me that when she arrived at the airport in 2009 and had requested wheelchair service, the person pushing her wheelchair quickly took her to a small room with no one in it except a uniformed woman who promptly got her bag, rummaged through it including her wallet and jewelry on the excuse that she was looking for a bullet.
The passenger sensing something irregular kept questioning why this was being done to her and why she was not brought to Immigration as expected but instead to a room by herself. When the uniformed woman turned a deaf ear, the passenger started raising her voice, loud enough to cause a return of the bag with the limp excuse that there were so many women who had bullets in their bag.
From this personal experience, we can deduce that the bullet scam has been a tried and true scheme that has been successfully perpetrated for a good number of years. Usual victims are foreigners particularly young ones, middleaged women, and overseas workers.
So, the unwitting statement of the DOTC Secretary that of the millions of passengers a year only about 1,800 plus are stopped for bullets actually means if true that the tanim bullet incidents happen at least thrice in one day, an unacceptable number in terms of reality.
Another chapter came to light a few weeks ago when a member of the Office of Transport Security was apprehended trying to shepherd a shipment of endangered species including tarsiers, turtles, snakes to leave the country. Obviously using his office to aid and abet the illegal export of these forbidden items. It probably is not the first time, just the first time brought to the light of day.
The Office to Transport Security is now definitely infamous for being connected to the bullet scam and facilitating export of forbidden items. With the assistance of wheelchair pushers, airport security guards and whoever else among the many members of the airport officialdom are lending themselves to these schemes.
It is a mystery why the Office of Transport Security has a multitude of misbehaving members. How are they vetted for their jobs, if they are? Or, are these jobs a matter of who you know or how much you will invest to get hired?
Naturally, all of the above have caused a huge loss of trust regarding what is going on at the airport and who are in charge there. My relative from Canada said it took her long and hard to decide to come back for a visit, apprehensive about how to get through the perils at the airport.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Walang Hiya has come up with a smug announcement that they have now signed a Memorandum of Agreement among the multifarious agencies officially in place at the airport to coordinate among themselves airport operations so that people will trust them.
“Coordination” is what the airport management has claimed they have been doing all this time as per their statements at the Senate Hearings that investigated the mess at the airport, coordinated or not. Now they still insist to follow this management style that has been a failure.
To these “coordinators” it must be plainly said that they will not succeed in putting the public’s minds to rest until arrests are made, cases filed, convictions achieved and jail time given to those responsible for the crimes perpetrated there to this day. A few resignations of “coordinators” would be the icing on the cake.
But then we are talking of the Kingdom of Walang Hiya and that may be unrealistic.