Now that criminal complaints have been filed against members of the airport police and transportation security personnel in connection with the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scam, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero is pushing the government to compensate victims of the extortion racket for the inconvenience and trauma they suffered.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed charges against two personnel from the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and four members of the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup) for their alleged involvement in the scheme.
“This only confirms that this modus operandi exists at our international airports, and not simply a media hype as some camps had tried to portray it,” said the leading vice-presidential candidate.
Escudero, thus, urged the government to devise a system to compensate the passengers who were victimized by the bullet-planting scheme.
“The victims had to endure delays, miss their flights and shell out money for wrongdoings they did not commit. The government could at the least give them financial aid as a way of compensation,” he said.
Doing so, the veteran senator added, will not only benefit the victims but will also help the government redeem itself from the global humiliation stemming from the modus operandi that was very well covered and reported by the international media.
The DOTC’S OTS and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) in November reported 1,394 ammunition-related cases since the start of the year.
The independent vice-presidential bet said taking this step would also send the message that the government is serious in addressing the problem to ensure that passengers travelling to the Philippine are safe.
“It cannot be denied that the racket caused a sense of insecurity among local and foreign travellers. We have yet to find out its effects on the country’s tourism industry since it has no doubt caused a chilling effect among tourists here and abroad,” he said.
The Philippines had 4.27 million visitors in 2012 and 4.68 million in 2013. Visitor arrivals increased to 4.83 million in 2014, with the biggest number—461,383 and 487,654—arriving in January and December, respectively./Office of Senator Chiz Escudero