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Airport scam is no fun – Chiz

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday expressed concern the so-called ‘tanim-bala’ or ‘laglag-bala’ could erode the government’s campaign it is “More Fun in the Philippines” if security officials fail to put a stop to the modus operandi.

Escudero said the scheme could reverse the government’s gains in tourism and make a complete mockery of its popular tourism campaign.

“Three of our islands have just been recognized as among the 10 best in the world, but who would want to come here if they can’t even get out of the airports without being victimized by unscrupulous and seemingly unstoppable syndicates?” Escudero said in a statement.

He said the increasing incidents of “tanim-bala” or “laglag-bala” in Manila threaten to overturn the momentum of the successful campaign.

“The crooks behind this ‘tanim-bala’ are not just planting bullets, they are sowing a sense of insecurity among travellers that will be difficult to address later on,” he said.

“The government has to end this ‘tanim-bala’ scheme now or we will lose our advantage as an emerging travel destination,” he added.

The Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-ASG) has said apprehensions on ammunition increased from 12 last years to 30 as of Nov. 1. Of these, seven were recorded in the last two weeks.

The lawmaker noted the Philippines had 4.27 million visitors in 2012 and 4.68 million in 2013 and visitor arrivals increased to 4.83 million in 2014, with the biggest number – 461,383 and 487,654 – arriving in January and December, respectively.

“We expect a deluge of balikbayans soon. Are we going to put all of them through this Russian roulette of ‘laglag-bala’ in NAIA?” Escudero asked.