Suggestions and other thoughts on the Laglag-bala Issue in Philippine Airports

Saw this pictures in my Facebook timeline

The solution to the “laglag bala” issue is quite simple. When a passenger is caught with one or two bullets, just confiscate and let the passenger go. No questions, no delay. Don’t give the security personnel the power to decide. Just like what I have observed in other international airports abroad (San Francisco, DC), any prohibited article like liquids, small knives, are simply confiscated. I repeat: Don’t give the security personnel the power to decide on minor stuff. – Roilo Golez

The picture was posted by PEBA, Inc.

This was supposed to be an FB comment to the picture but overthinking turned it too long and I had to make it into a blog post.

I agree to it 100%! Similar to an experience in Vietnam. Given Vietnam has a lot of tourist spots with a history of war and therefore at their giftshops they sell items with war themes like bullet necklaces or small military jeeps with bullet or torpedo designs on them the airport personnel at Vietnam only consfiscates the item with bullet like design after seeing it through their scans. The normal question they ask is where you got it and why do you have it. They tell you it is not allowed and you will have to leave it or you cannot board your flight. It is that simple. ONE BULLET alone is NOT ENOUGH SECURITY THREAT to hold the person from his flight nor put him in prison.

Here is a video of the experience of a 56 year old OFW explaining what happened to her and how her case went.

As an immediate solution it is best to suspend and replace all airport personnel and analyze the current complaints. Abaya’s solution to add more CCTV sounds like it will take time because there is still the planning process, bidding process, installation process etc. Yeah CCTVs may be effective prevention measure and for investigation purposes but an expedient solution like to stop the horrendous practice to extort from airport travelers sounds better.

The government should also take it seriously and not downplay the bullet issue. First of all based on a news report by UNTV there were more than 4000 cases of bullets found in baggages in less than a year alone.

If the concern is to minimize the panic of this bad news then they should also take the other point of view where downplaying the issue makes them guilty of allowing it to happen. If the government would take their sweet time on this issue then it would only perpetuate conspiracy theories like not wanting to interfere with money making schemes of each government agencies which they possibly assigned with quota targets to fund the LP party’s election campaigns. With the Customs issue on OFW boxes still fresh from people’s memories and now this “laglag-bala” issue getting the highlight then they should avoid the *quota* theory to gain any more form. Therefore even if the bullet issue lessens because the parties involved decided to “lay-low” to give credibility to the initial statement of the governemnt spokesperson it was an isolated incident it would still be prudent for the government to continue investigation and include the past incidents to assure the Filipino citizen that we still have a government with integrity. And that the government is serving the people and not the interest of their party. Another suggestion is for the government to immediately look into reaching out to the public victimize by the “laglag-bala” scam possibly by creating a website or a Facebook page where they can narrate their experience of extortion complete with name of the victim/complainant, contact details, the estimated date and time it happened and flight number if possible. And when the wrongdoers involved are identified to make their names public and prosecute them so they can pay for their actions.

However playing devil’s advocate, especially with the bullet issue also happening in Davao’s airport, you could entertain the theory that someone likes to create panic.

Assuming the laglag-bala issue is normal extortion practice, it is also possible someone is paying a group of people to increase its frequency at known homebase of potential Presidential candidates so it can be escalated to news-worthy levels. Even if Mayor Duterte says he will not run, there is that substitution theory with a December 10 deadline so someone is just covering all points and including Davao. The idea is to make Presidential candidates look bad and use it as a weapon to attack their rivals. Sort of muddying the playground more so you can use the mud to have something to sling at your opponents. I am not saying the laglag bala should not investigated I am just saying, someone wants to flame the issue more. Someone who could use the distraction to make the government look bad. Someone who need all the bullets (pardon the pun) he/she can use to shoot at his/her opponents. But this is just another conspiracy theory. Bottomline is the laglag-bala issue should be investigated and the culprits be prosecuted.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s