Air security office abolished

THE Office for Transportation Security, the single authority responsible for the screening and security of the transportation systems of the country's international airports, was abolished after some of its personnel were linked to the so-called "Tanim bala'' racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson Eric Apolonio said all OTS security screeners, including those working in provincial airports, will be recalled to the Department of Transportation and Communication.

He said airport screening and security will now be supervised by personnel from the Manila International Airport Authority and CAAP.

The OTS, which is under the DoTC, is the single authority responsible for the security of the transportation systems of the country, including civil aviation.

Previously, screening inspectors at Naia are directly accountable to the OTS rather than the MIAA.

The office was created in 2004 when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Orders No. 277 and 311 to comply with international standards in aviation security.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal confirmed that effective immediately, all security screeners at all the terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport will now be under the MIAA.

The change in setup was made following a series of ''tanim bala'' incidents at the country's main gateway last year.

For his part, Apolonio said the transition of command and responsibility will be formalized through an executive order by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"CAAP was informed to supervise all security screeners in provincial airports but since OTS is an agency created by law, we still need a written order for the full transfer," Apolonio said.

OTS had earlier promised to investigate the alleged involvement of its personnel in the extortion activities but no result has been released so far.

Duterte earlier warned the perpetrators of the "tanim bala" scam and other the illegal schemes at the country's premier airport that victimizes unknowing passengers.

"You at NAIA, if there is still bullet-planting there, you are all out. I do not care even if your chief of office or your C.O. there knows or has nothing to do with it," Duterte said in one of his speeches.

Source: The Standard