A netizen narrates her experience regarding another alleged “tanim-bala” incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Kristine Bumanglag-Moran narrates that at around 2:30 PM of June 15 while her baggage was passing through the X-Ray machine, she was held by an airport officer for inspection. The officer allegedly saw a 9-mm bullet inside the front pocket of her baggage, which Moran denies of carrying.
“This afternoon around 2:30pm I was at NAIA terminal 3 gate 2 upon check in going to Zamboanga and passing by X-ray I was held by the officer that my bag was to be opened for inspection. I obliged thinking that they saw the ‘black box’ that I have inside it (a black box is a small equipment in Physical Therapy we use for treating our patients). I placed my bag and the man with the grey sweater help[ed] me and even help[ed] me opened my bag. [H]e opened it and got an item [in] my daughter’s jumpsuit saying ‘etu yun‘ but there was nothing in it. The other officer said ‘buksan pa natin’, to my shock and dismay I saw a bullet inside the front pocket of my baggage. It was I tiny bullet (9 mm) goodness!” narrates Moran.
Thinking it was another “tanim-bala” incident, she yelled at the airport staff catching the attention of a police officer nearby. Another senior police officer approached them and asked her details about the incident to log it in their record book, which is a protocol for cases as such.
“I was so furious and I was yelling ‘mga tarantado kyo. Hinde pa pala tapos etung palabas nyo! Ako pa ang na timing nyo! Nag tratrabaho ako [nang] [maayos] at sa gobyerno tulad nyo! Mga putsa kyo kako kasama ko ang anak ko na ka discharge sa hospital tapos ang nanay ko na senior citizen!” she complained.
Moran’s rant about the incident immediately went viral with almost 59 thousand shares and over 34 thousand reactions from netizens.
DOTr releases official statement
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) aired their staff’s side of the incident through the Department of Transportation (DOTr) official Facebook page.
According to DOTr, what the airport personnel did was their protocol for instances of found bullet in luggages.
“Ang ginawa po ng airport personnel matapos makita ang bala ay ito: kinuha ang bala, ni-record ang incident sa logbook, at pinaalis ang pasahero,” the official statement reads.
The transportation department also clarifies that a true “tanim-bala” incident, just like in the past was planting a bullet inside a passenger luggage, holding the passenger inside the airport and extorting money him so he may be released.
“Nais lamang po naming klaruhin— Ang totoong tanim bala money-making scheme ay iyong pagtatanim ng bala sa bagahe mo, pag-hold sa iyo sa airport, hanggang sa hindi ka makaalis kahit na anong pagmamakaawa mo.
Naging problema po ito noong mga nakaraang taon dahil iyong ibang corrupt na opisyal at empleyado sa airport, hihingan ka ng lagay, at kung hindi ka makakapagbigay, hindi ka makakaalis, goodbye flight ang kahahantungan mo.”
According to the statement, incidences of “tanim-bala” has been eliminated when DOTr Secretary Art Tugade and MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal took over because they revised the previous policies. In the revised policy, when one or two bullets without a gun were found inside a passenger’s bag or luggage, the passenger will not be detained. The protocol is to get the found bullets, record the incident on the logbook and release the person.
“Ang polisiya ngayon, kapag may nakitang isa o dalawang bala ang airport personnel sa bag ng pasahero, at wala namang baril, walang rason para i-hold o i-detain ang tao, at hindi paalisin. Sa bagong procedure, kukunin lang ang bala, ire-record ang insidente sa logbook, at paaalisin na yung tao.
Sa kasong ito, wala pong nanghingi ng pera o kung anupaman. Wala din pong perang ibinigay. Wala pong sinaktan, hinold o dinetain. Higit sa lahat, nakaalis po ang mga pasahero on time.”
DOTr is currently doing an investigation if the airport personnel really planted the bullet inside Moran’s front pocket. The department has cited incidences in the past where a passenger forgets a bullet, that may have been used as a remembrance, memorabilia or an amulet, inside his/her bag.
The airport authorities assure that the right person will be penalized should anomalies be found out.