NO CASH GOBBLERS AT NAIA

PASAY CITY
, August 27, 2003  The chief of the 2nd Police Center for Aviation Security (PCAS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday that allegations that cash as well as other valuables passing through X-ray machines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are being stolen.

"Allegations that we have money-eating X-ray machines are untrue," said Col. Efren Labiang, chief of the 2nd PCAS.

PCAS personnel that man the X-ray machines assist Customs, as well as other airport personnel, in checking the belongings of passengers scheduled for departure.

Surveillance cameras are also installed near the X-ray machines to make sure that if belongings are taken by someone other than the owner, a tape could be viewed to identify the culprit.

Labiang said most of the time, a passenger loses valuables somewhere else and not during the screening of belongings through the X-ray machines at the airport terminals.

He recalls an incident involving a passenger who insisted that he lost his valuables at the X-ray machine of the NAIA departure area. But when police told him to calm down and think really hard, the passenger remembered leaving the item somewhere else.

Labiang laments that people manning the X-ray machines are the first to be blamed for lost items. But he explained that it is impossible for an item to be lost since a machine has only one entry and one exit point.

"When passengers lose their belongings, it is possible that other passengers in line could have picked them up during inspection," Labiang said.

"Often, a passenger forgets his belongings at the station during and are picked up by other passengers. When the victim comes back for them, the belongings have already been taken by someone else," he said. Sandy Araneta


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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