THE Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) yesterday made a clarification on the claim of a certain Andrew Montes, a Filipino deportee from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that certain items were missing in his checked-in baggage.
In a video circulating now on social media, Montes, who arrived on a Saudia Airline flight last Nov. 17, 2018, claimed that he lost his mobile phone, gold necklace and money which were placed in his backpack placed inside a box.
According to him, the Saudi authorities did not allow him and his co-deportees to carry anything with them to the plane and instead ordered them to put all their belongings in their luggage.
Based on coordination made by MIAA with the ground handler of Saudia Airline, it was learned that footage taken from body cameras of their ramp agents revealed no noticeable irregularities or mishandling of baggage that would warrant a probe on the allegation of Montes that their bags were tampered with in NAIA.
Saudia Airlines, for its part, has informed Montes that the airline cannot be made liable for undeclared valuables placed inside his baggage.
It was further observed from records that 11 previous Saudia Airline flights yielded several reports from Filipino deportees claiming they lost items from their luggage, which were checked-in by Saudi authorities.
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), on the other hand, confirmed that Montes appeared before their office on Nov. 20, 2018 to seek help. He was advised that airlines have standard operating procedures (SOPs) to observe and that compensation for loss of valuable items is subject to proper declaration during check-in. The visit was not docketed in CAB’s records because Montes chose to leave without lodging a formal complaint.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal is appealing once again to air passengers to be aware of airline regulations and SOPs on baggage handling.
He also called on Montes to exercise prudence in airing complaints on social media.