Davao City acts to prevent laglag-bala
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – While Manila is still reeling from the "laglag-bala" or bullet-planting scam, Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy Airport has already taken preventative measures.
Photos posted by Facebook user Yves Perdido on November 2 show officers on patrol, distributing flyers to passengers that warn them to closely monitor their belongings.
The airport’s chief inspector, Eugene Balugo, also told media that that they are currently installing high-resolution cameras to complement the existing CCTV cameras.
The scam, which has angered the public and drawn international media attention, allegedly involves airport personnel who plant bullets in the bags of unsuspecting passengers and then demand bribes after detecting the bullets with airport scanners.
Davao City’s actions come in the wake of contrast with the relative inaction of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) authorities so far.
Recent reports about the scam caused travelers passing through the nation’s airports to fear for their own security. Many also worry that the increasing international attention the scam continues to attract will deteriorate the number of incoming tourists.
One case was recently recorded in the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao, with a Manila-bound passenger found to have two live bullets in his baggage.
Legislators including senators Ralph Recto, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Alan Cayetano, have called for a Senate investigation into the incidents. Representatives Ashley Acedillo, Samuel Pagdilao, Romeo Acop, Leopoldo Bataoil and Gary Alejano similarly called for a Congressional inquiry. They also demanded a change in the current leadership of NAIA.
Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte also garnered media attention after declaring he would force-feed the bullets to the miscreants if it happened within his jurisdiction. He has also vowed to represent victims of the bullet-plating scam as their lawyer. – with reports from Mover Saimehen Lloid Iluis and Rappler intern Lorenzo Benitez/Rappler.com