In light of the recent irregularity in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that centres the airport personnel about the “bullet-planting” (locally translated tanim-bala), surprisingly until now there is no concrete conclusion despite the fact that it was a month ago since it was exposed in the public and more victims were came forward to open their experiences. The incidence is really irksome, dismaying and humiliating. There are many disorders that need to explain. It’s alarming to figure out the still uncertain suspect in this disgrace “tanim-bala or laglag-bala” scam in the NAIA. It is disturbing because it’s been long time since it was sensationalized in the news, and quite many have been preyed in this scam (and apart from it is now becoming an international embarrassment for our country) yet the “tanim-bala” responsible culprits are still free at large. The bylaw is so powerful which has been seeing by the crook to use and take advantage the pressing travellers to extort. Another dirty tactic in the name of money, the sad thing here is that this law has used to cheat. And it is saddening to think the chronic rampant graft and corruption in the bureaucracy.
I am suspecting two possible scenarios. There is this shameful inside-job syndicate operating the scam until it was headlined in the news and sensationalized in social media, or there is a political ploy here to sabotage the government in this election season from the time this went viral in social media to present time. But either way, it must bring the responsible now and it needs to have heads rolling. People are fuming mad on the implicated people. But it is not just from one side of the coin, there are other suspected reasons that need to open, scrutinize and discuss/resolve. In some cases, there are conservative travellers’ old custom and belief in using these bullets as amulets or a lucky charm for safe and good travelling. There are also the reckless media who plays remarkable role in sensationalizing the report that captured in news headline which puts travellers in panic. Yes it is their job and responsibility to report the truth for the information of the public but media should be careful in reporting that may blow the event out of proportion. Repeatedly reporting the incidents in bold frontline news every minute ruins the whole picture. The one, two, ten or hundreds of travellers are still a very small part compare to the thousand of travellers who are also using the same airport. Reporting this in the headline every now and then that seems repeatedly reiterating the blunder of the agency feeds the travellers in the paranoid state of mind. Yes there are anomalies happening perpetrated by scalawags but remember, the cases are just a small part of the travellers using NAIA everyday and it is pity to put the effective law enforcers in mockery. Together with the netizens, posting the headlines in social media worsen it even more that gives chances to political opportunists to do grandstanding. It draw the attention of the international media to broadcast our very own country which damages the reputation of our country, jeopardizes our tourism, causes international embarrassment and puts racial discrimination to our immigrants. True, not all should be posted in social media, netizens should be responsible. It is not just about reporting the truth but it is also about balanced and responsible journalism, and it is not about to sacrifice for the sake of truth but its about considering the welfare of the majority.
The intention of this law is very important that our travellers seriously needed. To avoid compromising the safety of travellers specially those who are bound to international destinations where discovering a bullet in their luggage may even result into more untoward outcome. Unfortunately, this scenario, the weight of the law and the amulets alibi are the reasons why some scalawags in our airport are eyeing this law for their own profit. And it should stop now. I’m not charlatan saying it is very simple. But I have some idea to at least control the situation. As a matter of common sense, it is unpersuasive to carry bullets those earlier weak senior citizen victims that are vulnerable target of the criminals. To oppose this, the law must amend to make a single bullet case into confiscation rather than putting the traveller in bar – like what many have suggesting. It is mostly empty bullet anyway that searched in the baggage, the authority can use their personal judgment. It should not take long any further because it already affected the innocent travellers. Just unfortunate that there are kind of people who will risk even the country’s reputation for their own vested interest, they are the traitors who deter the rising of the country.
By Alex V. Villamayor
November 12, 2015