In the wake of another theft incident involving Office for Transportation Security (OTS) Security Screening Officers (SSO) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) one after the other, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Cesar Chiong ordered that security reviews be ramped up as he strongly denounced the said incidents.
Chiong likewise ordered the strict enforcement of MIAA’s service standard policies for employees of government and non-government agencies assigned in the NAIA Complex, which includes prohibiting security personnel who interact directly with passengers from bringing bags into their area of assignment.
A ‘no pocket policy’ for uniforms and jackets of these personnel will also be implemented.
“We strongly condemn such unscrupulous, illicit and selfish acts. Theft violates the trust and integrity required of public servants, and has serious negative consequences for the airport, its stakeholders, and the country as a whole,” Chiong said.
His remarks came after an OTS SSO was caught stealing a Chinese passenger’s watch while passing through a security screening checkpoint at NAIA Terminal 1 at 2:30am on March 1, Wednesday.
“We thank the Airport Police Department (APD), Philippine National Police – Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP), and the management of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) for their quick response, which resulted in the arrest of the erring personnel,” Chiong said.
Just last February 22, five OTS SSO personnel were relieved after a video went viral where the said personnel were caught pocketing the money of a Thai transit passenger going through the security screening procedure at NAIA Terminal 2.
“Even though these people manning the screening areas are employees of the OTS and not of the MIAA, they still operate in NAIA which we administer. It happened under our roof, so it is critical that we resolve these issues so as not to cause alarm among passengers and affect their confidence to travel to the Philippines. More importantly, it negates all efforts of the MIAA to improve the image of NAIA,” Chiong said, adding that OTS Administrator Undersecretary Ma.O Aplasca has given assurance that criminal charges will be filed against their personnel.
MIAA has since been working with OTS on ways to improve vetting and background checks on their personnel.
Shortly after the February 22 incident, MIAA ordered the installation of an additional camera on top of the screening machine at the transit area of Terminal 2 and the removal of the film covering the glass panels, which obscures transparency.
MIAA also conducted a thorough review of blind spots across all terminals in order to improve their CCTV deployment.
“We are trying to remove all possible forms of obstruction. This is one of our major deterrents to illegal acts such as pilferage or theft. These facility changes will not be limited to Terminal 2,” said Chiong.