THERE were no Chinese nationals that were given VIP treatment ahead of him, contrary to the claim of ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III, whose spat with a personnel from the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) went viral over the weekend.
This was learned yesterday from Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal, who said that the findings came after he himself and other airport officials thoroughly reviewed the 29-minute CCTV footage prior to the incident itself.
Bertiz’s chief of staff, Jun Aguilar, explained in a press statement that immediately before the congressman went through the checkpoint, “a group of Chinese-looking passengers escorted by airport staff had breezed through and did not undergo the same security protocols that everybody else had to go through.”
“The congressman questioned the security checker why those who went before him just casually walked through and were not properly searched,” the statement said further.
Monreal said the video recording they reviewed came from the CCTV, both of the OTS and the NAIA Terminal 2, which showed Bertiz passing through and then confronting the OTS personnel concerned while showing an ID and then later taking the said personnel’s ID.
According to Monreal, the said OTS personnel continues to be assigned at the airport and that the decision on whether or not to take back the ID of Bertiz -- which gives him access to the airport -- will be the subject of review and evaluation as part of due process which he said has several stages.
He also welcomed the public apology offered by Bertiz and said that the MIAA is also sorry for the brouhaha although it was no fault of the authority. He likewise apologized to the media for not immediately answering queries, saying he had to review the CCTV first before he could give an informed answer.
Monreal said he had just arrived from a vacation when he saw a missed call from Bertiz and upon learning of the incident, he immediately convened a meeting with offices concerned to find out what really happened.
He said that legislators and certain government officials do get to have access passes or IDs upon request and that such is given only as a matter of courtesy. However, Monreal stressed, having such access does not give them the right or privilege to circumvent the regulations being implemented at the NAIA terminals and they still have to submit to security protocols as these are mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
In the case at hand, Monreal said the best thing that Bertiz should have done was to report the matter to the OTS personnel’s supervisor, if indeed he had complaints of double standard or arrogance.
The airport chief stressed that those in government, specially if they are travelling, are not exempt from the airport regulations, adding that in the case of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, the latter never demanded any VIP treatment whenever he uses the premier airports.