Duterte administration is now planning to abolish the Office for Transporation Security (OTS) agency due to its alleged involvement in a series of bullet-planting scams. The Department of Transportation believes that it is the most effective way to cleanse the airport systems of the Philippines to prevent future scandals and tourism scare in the Philippines. The decision was made after the past administration failed to contain a series of corruption allegations made by the OTS personnel for being involved in various bullet-related scams. The allegations caused a scare for both local and international travelers, fearing for their security as they fear that they could be the victim of bullet planting scams.
The decision was formally announced by the new management team of Manila International Airport Authority under the orders of the new president of the Philippines. This corresponds with the dismay of the Duterte administration due to the involvement of isolated cases that still lingers the image of various Philippine airports across the country as well as the perception of foreigners to the Philippines in the tourism industry. Despite efforts to prevent future incidents that affect local and international travelers who are moving in and out of the country or within the country, there are still problems wherein OTS personnel are still involved with the scheme that usually happens inside the airport facility.
|Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, one of the main gateways to and from the Philippines|
The decision was confirmed by the new manager of MIAA, Ed Monreal, who will be responsible for maintaining the operations throughout the Duterte's administration. Monreal indicated that abolishing the agency is the best solution so that future incidents will not affect the image of the country from international visitors. Local tourists who are traveling to other parts of the country will be as well no longer have to worry about the behaviors of corrupt airport security personnel who are not contented with their jobs by planting bullets and scamming passengers.
By January of 2017, the agency (OTS) will be completely abolished. The personnel of OTS will be assigned to other agencies of the Transporation Department. Monreal, along with other supervisors will start background investigation of OTS personnel and will immediately suspend or even dismiss employees who will be found being engaged in suspicious activities. This includes past violations, unexplained wealth, pending criminal investigation, and poor employment performance that could eventually relieve them from their service. There will be an expected number of OTS personnel that will be relieved because there are already violators who committed unethical conducts at the airport facility.
Only deserving employees will be the ones who will continue their service in the facility. These are employees with a good employment track record, no suspicious wealth, no past or pending legal and ethical issues. Employees who served more than decade with the agency will also have a higher chance to be retained in the airport facility.
OTS personnel are the main perpetrators of bullet planting controversies. Past incidents mostly indicate that OTS personnel were blamed for various extortion of local and international passengers who were victimized with bullets on their luggage.
Corrupt personnel attempts to make their victims as the new violator of the law through the help of the scanners that reveals the bullets being planted to their luggage or pockets. When victims are being revealed to be violating laws through the revelation of the scanning machines, the OTS personnel will start the scheme by trying to prevent them from flying to their destinations. By using the scanner as an evidence, the OTS personnel will now start to extort money from the victims as a way to have an extra income before allowing them to leave.
If the victim does not give OTS personnel any money, they will be handed over to the AVSEC (Aviation Security Group) that will be managed by the police department operating in the airports. As the connivance continues, the police officials will be the next ones to extort the victims, which is another agony for the travelers. There will be an interrogation applied by the members of the AVSEC personnel to the victims inside their office, which will force the victims to bring out their cash from pockets and then giving it to corrupt officials.
The Philippines is hampered by low tourist arrivals due to corrupt OTS personnel along with other transportation agencies operating in various airports around the country. Their unacceptable behavior significantly impacts the tourism industry of the country as there is still OTS personnel involved in scandalous practices that scare tourists away.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is an agency responsible for managing all aviation operations of the country. CAAP works with MIAA to ensure that transportation facilities and security implementation towards passengers are always ensured. Both agencies are under the Department of Transportation under the Executive Branch of the Philippine government.
Aside from OTS abolition, both MIAA and CAAP are also looking at other departments operating in various local airports across the Philippines to check the profiles and backgrounds of all employees. This is to comprehensively clean the image of the Philippines to both local and foreign tourism sectors.