Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday called on the government to get its act together and ensure the general safety of the people amid the growing public fear due to incidents of the “Tanim-Bala” modus at the country’s airports.
“People are afraid. Everyone who goes to our airports is bulletproofing their bags. They feel that if they are victimized, a case will be filed against them before someone listens to them. Takot na takot ang mamamayan dahil ang gobyerno ay hindi maramdaman,” Cayetano said.
During yesterday’s Senate inquiry regarding the bullet-planting scandal, the senator questioned Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya’s earlier statement that they have already started their investigation on the matter, after “Tanim-Bala” victims invited at the hearing confirmed that none of the concerned agencies, DOTC included, made an effort to get their side of the story.
“An investigation means that you are looking at who is right or wrong, that you are listening to both sides. Pero ang kanang kamay ninyo, nag-file na ng kaso, sinasabing guilty sila. Ang kaliwa ninyong kamay, hindi naman sila tinatanong kung anong nangyari,” Cayetano told Abaya.
He also expressed his disbelief on how bullets allegedly carried by passengers can be intercepted by airport personnel, while kilos of drugs are smuggled unnoticed.
“What kind of x-ray machines do our airports have that are so picky that it can detect a bullet allegedly carried by OFW Gloria Ortinez but fail to detect 2.5 kilos of cocaine?” Cayetano asked.
Single department to protect OFWs from abuse
The senator said that the government should have a swift and effective response to the scam in order to quell the public’s fear and secure the country’s airports.
Meanwhile, in Cayetano’s Senate Resolution No. 1662 filed on Wednesday, he expressed the need for the government to establish a single department that will manage, harmonize, and strengthen existing policies and programs that will protect the rights of Filipino migrant workers.
He also called on the Office for Transport Security to conduct an immediate investigation and file a report within 15 days, with the end view of rendering justice to the victims and punishing all those responsible of the scam.
“What we need are simple, swift and effective measures to address this issue. Hindi pupwede ang pateka-teka. ‘Pag mabilis ang aksyon ng gobyerno, mawawala ang takot ng tao,” Cayetano concluded./Office of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano