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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

EVIDENCE OF BULLET-PLANTING RIFE AT NAIA; TRAVELLING? PROTECT YOURSELF LEGALLY
[How to Defend Yourself from Laglag Bala Scam]


OCTOBER 30 -The Problem: You’re travelling out NAIA airport when a shady Filipino officer claims to find .45 caliber slug bunched between your jockeys. What is your remedy? You’ve experienced laglag bala scam first hand. Issue: Mounting claims of bullet-planting extortion within the notorious NAIA airport is burning up social media. Recent victims of the frame-up included an American pastor, a Japanese businessmen and several aged domestic helpers. To the ire of many, the NAIA General Manager Jose Honrado recently defended the questionable arrest of a 56 year old allegedly carrying a bullet. A number of miscreants involved in the planting of evidence were merely dismissed.Sen. Ralph Recto called for an investigation as no official had been jailed for the frame-ups transpiring nearly a decade now.Internationally, both Time and BBC slammed airport authorities: “This is becoming an international embarrassment” The job of airport security is to confiscate dangerous items from suitcases, but travelers have recently found the opposite is true in the Philippines’ Manila Airport, where staff have allegedly been dropping bullets into the bags of unsuspecting passengers. Question: Is there a proper penalty for the planting of evidence leading to the inconvenience and incarceration of an individual? Answer: The penalty for the planting of evidence is reclusion perpetua. For the layman, the penalty is more popularly known as life imprisonment. Republic Act 9516 or the is clear on the matter “SEC 4-A. Criminal Liability for Planting of Evidence. – Any person who is found guilty of ‘planting’ any explosive or incendiary device or any part, ingredient, machinery, tool or instrument of any explosive or incendiary device, whether chemical, mechanical, electronic, electrical or otherwise, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.“Planting of evidence shall mean the willful act by any person of maliciously and surreptitiously inserting, placing, adding or attaching, directly or indirectly, through any overt or covert act, whatever quantity of any explosive or incendiary device or any part, ingredient, machinery, tool or instrument of any explosive or incendiary device, whether chemical, mechanical, electronic, electrical or otherwise in the person, house, effects or in the immediate vicinity of an innocent individual for the purpose of implicating incriminating or imputing the commission of any violation of this Decree. READ MORE....RELATED,
Palace Addresses Tanim Bala...

ALSO: Silent protest over ‘tanim-bala’
[Airport security officials face House grilling over illegal drugs carried by four Pinays]


NOVEMBER 7 -GOD BLESS THEM — Personnel of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), at the center of the ‘tanim-bala’ controversy, resort to prayer as a Holy Mass is held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday, before proceeding to their work stations with pink armbands and ribbons (inset) as a silent protest to accusations they are behind the sinister extortion scheme. (Ariel Fernandez)
Employees of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) yesterday held a silent protest at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) over allegations implicating them in the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scandal that has already tainted the image of the country in the international community.
Wearing pink armbands, the OTS employees decided to gather in a holy mass officiated by airport chaplain Rev. Fr. Ananias “Sonny” Merida at the NAIA Terminal 2 as they condemned sweeping allegations portraying that all of them are involved in the bullet-planting mess. We decided to pray together as we all know that it is only God who can help stop these accusations against us as well as the tanim-bala scam, said Edgar Anas, national president of the OTS employees. He also appealed for understanding and asked everyone to wait for the results of the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). President Aquino has already directed the NBI to investigate the “tanim-bala” scam, stressing that they should “watch the watchers (airport screeners).”  Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the President wanted to ensure that nobody is abusing the security measures in place at the country’s airports. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Laglag-Bala’ Incidents Rise 775% in 2015 -Federal Aviation


NOVEMBER 3 -THE number of passengers apprehended with bullets in their luggage has shot up 775 percent this year, from only 12 incidents in 2014 to 105 cases from January to November this year, data from the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group showed.
In a phone interview, Supt. Jeanne Panisan of the PNP AvSecGroup attributed the spike not to an extortion racket at the airport but to “tighter security screening.” This year’s figure is the highest recorded in four years, with only 20 passengers apprehended in 2012 and 21 passengers in 2013. Panisan said the arrests this year yielded 514 bullets, 24 magazines, 20 firearms, 139 accessories or parts of firearms, and 20 replicas. An airport official said Monday at least 40 personnel of the Office for Transportation Security are under investigation over allegations that they planted bullets in the luggage of unsuspecting passengers in an attempt to extort money from them. But Manila International Airport Authority spokesman David de Castro said the OTS personnel cannot be immediately fired as they might be “demoralized.” Bullet-proofing. Migrant Filipino workers at the airport wrap plastic around their luggage to prevent corrupt officials from planting bullets inside them and then shaking them down for money. Danny Pata The OTS personnel being investigated, however, will have their airport access passes revoked as part of the protocol. Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay, a presidential candidate in next year’s election, called for the immediate relief of all OTS personnel over the widening extortion scandal. Independent candidate for President Senator Grace Poe, on the other hand, said MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado must put an end to the extortion syndicate within a week or resign. Lawmakers on Monday dismissed accusations from administration supporters that the spate of bullet-related arrests at the airport was the work of the political opposition and aimed at embarrassing the administration and hurting the chances of the ruling Liberal Party’s candidate for President, Manuel Roxas II. Instead of addressing the issue, the Palace and its supporters are trying to mislead the public of the Aquino administration’s failed anti-corruption drive, said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate. READ MORE...

ALSO Duterte asks from Aquino: Do something drastic about ‘tanim-bala’
[Duterte said he could no longer express the anger that he felt with the developments that are happening at the NAIA and called the CAAP as inutile (useless). “Passengers at the airport have to wrap their baggage. What kind of government is this?” he emphasized, adding of the clear cases of machinations and planting of evidences. Duterte also said that the bullets found at the luggage of an engineer at the Davao International Airport could have been planted in Manila.]


NOVEMBER 3 -MB File Photo--Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Photo By Alexander D. Lopez) MB File Photo
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Photo By Alexander D. Lopez) DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to fire aviation personnel who are involved in the tanim-bala incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“I’d like to call the attention of the president. He must do something about it immediately. The president should order the relief of all officials and employees connected to the CAAP, the aviation command including those in the porter services and the drivers,” Duterte told the media after paying a visit at the graves of his departed parents at the Davao Catholic Cemetery on Monday evening, November 2. The mayor emphasized that a syndicate is already operating at the airport, stating existing “conspiracy of the porters and the drivers and the police” at the NAIA. “Mr. President, I think they have crossed the red line. You must do something drastic about it. Lip service is not enough Mr. President. Dapat yariin mo silang lahat because it has given us a bad name and has placed the Filipino people in jeopardy.”  Duterte added that he has been a loyal supporter of President Aquino and he has asked no favor from the president. “I asked you nothing before, not even a project or whatsoever, but I demand that as President you must do something about it,” he said. Duterte also suggested that the president can do such drastic move during the five-day suspension of flights, from November 15 to 20 in preparation for the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. The mayor also proposed to the president that the army and the members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and even the cops from the provinces can temporarily take over the responsibilities of the relieved police and ground personnel of NAIA. “They should be relieved immediately. Og wala moy tawo (if you no longer have personnel) then let the army do it. Og wala the cops (if you no longer have cops) the policemen from the provinces can do the works.”  READ MORE...related, Bullet scam: Palace not so eager to sack airport chief...

ALSO: Netizens put humor to ‘tanim-bala’, makes memes
[A meme is defined as a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users.]


NOVEMBER 3 -Netizens are using memes to voice out their frustrations over the tanim-bala scheme at various airports in the country.
Several passengers have been complaining about bullets allegedly being planted by airport personnel in their luggage to extort money. On November 3, 2015, President Benigno Aquino III summoned transport authorities and ordered them to verify and validate all bullet related incidents. But this is not stopping netizens from posting hilarious memes, parodying these incidents which have been causing embarrassment not only to the Aquino government but also to the country. WATCH MORE 'MEMES'...

ALSO By R. Tiglao: Under Aquino, we’ve become the most violent country in Asia, next to North Korea
[The tense situation in the West Philippine Sea and the infamous Masasapano incident has contributed to the big drop of the Philippines’ Global Peace Index ranking. According to the 2015 Global Peace Index report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the Philippines is now placed 141st from 134 in 2014. The Philippines scored 2.462 in the index and was among the countries with “low” state of peace. Last year, the Philippines was in 134th place with a score of 2.456. The Philippines is ranked last among Southeast Asian countries and is just ahead North Korea in the Asia-Pacific. Source: The 2015 Global Peace Index made headlines around the world. Published 03 Jul 2015]


NOVEMBER 3 -By Rigoberto Tiglao: PHL: Second most dangerous place in Asia --That’s according to the 2015 rankings by the “Global Peace Index” of 162 countries done annually since 2007 by a panel of international experts in the Institute for Economics and Peace. The Institute is considered to be the world’s leading think tank in developing metrics for analyzing peace and to quantify its economic benefits. The overall index uses 24 indicators to measure a country’s peace index, among them, its level of safety, crime incidence, terrorism, and intensity of internal conflict. The Philippine index was low, largely dragged by the indicators for “perceptions of criminality” and “violent crime,” both of which registered a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst. Under President Aquino, with his “daang matuwid” nonsense, the Philippine ranking has fallen steeply to 141 this year from 130 in 2010. That means countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, as well as Congo and Honduras, have been graded as more peaceful than the Philippines, according to the panel of experts. Another way of putting it: Since 2010, countries such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe have overtaken our country in the peace rankings. In Asia-Pacific, war-ravaged countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar were regarded as more peaceful than the Philippines. The Philippines is now competing with only North Korea for the dubious distinction of being the most violent country in Asia. The assessment isn’t at all surprising for anyone looking without yellow glasses on at the sorry state of our nation under Aquino. According to the latest statistics of the Philippine National Police’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, index crimes (murder, homicide, and robbery) for the first six months of 2015 increased 37 percent to total 26.592. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Benigno Aquino 3rd: Other than owing their posts to their parents, they now have something else in common. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Benigno Aquino 3rd: Other than owing their posts to their parents, they now have something else in common. Watching TV news these days is sickening: there isn’t any news broadcast when no violent crime is reported, with street murders carried out by killers riding motorbikes’ pillions having become commonplace. Given the ubiquitousness of closed-circuit television, every TV news program now has a “CCT segment,” which depicts a metropolis in an unending crime wave. The rape and murder of teenaged girls no longer shock us, and journalists now seem to be routinely assassinated. Even our airports have become a dangerous place to be, with travelers so relieved when they get on their planes without being charged with carrying a goddamn bullet in their bags. In early October, criminals who claimed to be Abu Sayyaf Islamic jihadists kidnapped two Canadian tourists and a Norwegian resort owner. The kidnappers threatened to behead their hostages in a video that had a black flag looking similar to what the barbarous ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been displaying. Quite shockingly, Aquino doesn’t seem to care, treating it as just a crime incident. Doesn’t he realize that this could be driving away not just tourists but foreign investors as well? If this happened in past administrations, as it did under President Arroyo’s time, a high-level crisis committee would be organized, and the rescue of the hostages would be the most important concern of the presidency.Not under this president. The assessments of the country by international panels obviously are so different when we don’t pay for them, as we did in the case of credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. So far, the Aquino government has spent P3 billion for these agencies’ fees and expenses (including first-class fare and accommodations for their staff) for the 12 ratings it has requested them to issue since 2011, all of which painted a rosy picture for the Philippines’ creditworthiness. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Evidence of Bullet Planting Rife at NAIA
[How to Defend Yourself from Laglag Bala Scam]

UNBLOGGED, NOVEMBER 9, 2015 (http://www.plazolaw.com/) by Atty. Joseph Plazo | Oct 30, 2015- The Problem: You’re travelling out NAIA airport when a shady Filipino officer claims to find .45 caliber slug bunched between your jockeys. What is your remedy? You’ve experienced laglag bala scam first hand.

Issue: Mounting claims of bullet-planting extortion within the notorious NAIA airport is burning up social media.

Recent victims of the frame-up included an American pastor, a Japanese businessmen and several aged domestic helpers. To the ire of many, the NAIA General Manager Jose Honrado recently defended the questionable arrest of a 56 year old allegedly carrying a bullet.

A number of miscreants involved in the planting of evidence were merely dismissed.

Sen. Ralph Recto called for an investigation as no official had been jailed for the frame-ups transpiring nearly a decade now.

Internationally, both Time and BBC slammed airport authorities:

“This is becoming an international embarrassment”
The job of airport security is to confiscate dangerous items from suitcases, but travellers have recently found the opposite is true in the Philippines’ Manila Airport, where staff have allegedly been dropping bullets into the bags of unsuspecting passengers.

Question: Is there a proper penalty for the planting of evidence leading to the inconvenience and incarceration of an individual?

Answer: The penalty for the planting of evidence is reclusion perpetua. For the layman, the penalty is more popularly known as life imprisonment.

Republic Act 9516 or the is clear on the matter

“SEC 4-A. Criminal Liability for Planting of Evidence. – Any person who is found guilty of ‘planting’ any explosive or incendiary device or any part, ingredient, machinery, tool or instrument of any explosive or incendiary device, whether chemical, mechanical, electronic, electrical or otherwise, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

“Planting of evidence shall mean the willful act by any person of maliciously and surreptitiously inserting, placing, adding or attaching, directly or indirectly, through any overt or covert act, whatever quantity of any explosive or incendiary device or any part, ingredient, machinery, tool or instrument of any explosive or incendiary device, whether chemical, mechanical, electronic, electrical or otherwise in the person, house, effects or in the immediate vicinity of an innocent individual for the purpose of implicating incriminating or imputing the commission of any violation of this Decree.

READ MORE...

Travelling? Protect Yourself

The laws of the land allow airport officials to inspect the luggage of departing passengers for the safety of the travelling populace. Unfortunately allegations of abuse of power and extortion reveal a real threat. Here’s how to protect yourself legally.

First, avoid bags that have numerous pockets which can be opened and resealed with a ballpen.
Rogue NAIA officials can swipe a side pocket and insert contraband this way. Rather than use cheap luggage, use this type of bag:
 

Use a padlock on the twin holes that secure the bag. A good padlock would be one that required considerable pressure to break. Avoid locks that are merely decorative

The following video illustrates the proper use of the bag.

 

If you can’t stomach the look of that bag and must fly with your Louis Vuitton, then slap on a second layer of protection. Wrap the entire bag in plastic. The shrink wrap makes sticking in a bullet difficult.

Worse comes to worse. At the X-ray Machine, a rogue official claims to find a bullet for extortion purposes.

He insists that you’re carrying contraband and proceeds to open your bag. You have the following rights:

●The right to delay immediate opening of the bag till:
●You summon presence of his supervisor; and
●You obtain the presence of your lawyer or third party witnesses

The supervisor arrives and so do your witnesses. You may now, in plain view, proceed to open the locks on your bag. Let the officials take over and find the so-called bullet. If you truly have no contraband within the bag, then, they may attempt to plant evidence which will be devoid of your fingerprints. A bullet with none of your fingerprints sheds reasonable doubt on the possession of said item.

This is important: No officer of the law may compel you to be a witness against yourself. Should they demand that you admit ownership of the planted bullet, you shall standby the right to remain silent. Any admission by you without a lawyer is inadmissible in court. Cite sec 12 of the Philippine Bill of Rights

Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.

No police officer can set bail. Corrupt officials may say, “Sir you simply have to pay [xxx extortion amount here], and we’ll let you go.” This is a trap. Only a Judge is empowered by law to set bail. You can respond that they are in violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act RA 3019. The penalties are severe:

Section 9. Penalties for violations. (a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income.
Any complaining party at whose complaint the criminal prosecution was initiated shall, in case of conviction of the accused, be entitled to recover in the criminal action with priority over the forfeiture in favor of the Government, the amount of money or the thing he may have given to the accused, or the value of such thing.
(b) Any public officer violation any of the provisions of Section 7 of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court.
The violation of said section proven in a proper administrative proceeding shall be sufficient cause for removal or dismissal of a public officer, even if no criminal prosecution is instituted against him.

Did the police detain you arbitrarily? You have real ammunition to fight back:

●Habeas Corpus is a legal proceeding to obtain liberty. The remedy is proper where the rogue authorities have no probable cause nor basis to hold you.

●Arbitrary detention a crime equivalent to illegal detention, more popularly known as kidnapping. Officials commit this crime when they cause your incarceration bereft of legal basis. File this in court to send the erring officer to prison for 6 to 12 years.

The layman often looks in awe upon persons in authority without realizing that crimes perpetrated by the authorities come with heftier penalties.

Art. 124. Arbitrary detention. — Any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds, detains a person, shall suffer;
1. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the detention has not exceeded three days;
2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the detention has continued more than three but not more than fifteen days;
3. The penalty of prision mayor, if the detention has continued for more than fifteen days but not more than six months; and
4. That of reclusion temporal, if the detention shall have exceeded six months.

Travel safe and keep this anti-laglag bala checklist handy:


Laglag Bala Checklist: Be smart against the thieves at NAIA

5 Comments

B. Owens on October 31, 2015 at 1:16 pm
This would definitely put people off traveling to the Philippines. As if fears were not bad enough for a foreigner; kidnap by extremists, malaria, being duped by airport ‘taxis’. Airport Security staff looking for ‘help payments’, Now you have to worry about someone in authority planting something in your luggage. Something needs to be done about the corruption. It makes you wonder too if lone officers were involved or if their superiors were not also taking a ‘cut’ to turn a blind eye! The Philippines is a beautiful country, but rife with corruption. It is sad and this WILL affect tourism. Which means that the average Filipino trying to earn a proper living will lose a wage.
Reply

Ray on November 1, 2015 at 2:55 am
I’d need this info since we plan to travel soon.
Most likely we’ll go for the Shrink-wrap EVERYTHING route, and sign the shrink wrap plus tape.
Do you know when they plant the bullets in order to frame you (like during when they inspect your bags and they have something up their sleeves)?
Are we allowed to inspect the employee’s clothes before you let them check your bag, or are there third party people who sneak the fake evidence into your bags?
Is it possible for those criminals to skip your bag altogether and just plant the fake evidence into your jacket pockets or something?
Reply

glpasia@yahoo.com on November 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm
PRAYING for a GODLY PHILIPPINES the ONLY CHRISTIAN NATION in ASIA!!And we as CHRISTIANS should do what GOD had commanded.New International Version 1 Timothy 2:2 PRAY for your kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.GOD PLEASE BLESS the PHILIPPINES!!!
PLS.PRAY and PLS.READ. 2 Chronicles 7:14
New International Version
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.The Philippines need to repent and go back to the BIBLE.
Ask GOD for forgiveness.TRUST GOD not anything or anybody.It is only GOD who can PROVIDE for ALL YOUR NEEDS!!!Because GOD is everywhere even before we think GOD knows.GOD said ask and it shall be given,seek and you will find ,knock and the door will be open to you.
Reply

Atty. Joseph Plazo on November 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm
B. Owens- yes the country is beautiful, but it’s a place were being wary of your rights is of utmost importance. When you go complacent, that’s when you end up hoodwinked.
Reply

Atty. Joseph Plazo on November 1, 2015 at 2:35 pm
From the news reports- the following are best practices:
1. Travel with a hardshell bag that doesn’t have pockets. If it does, use plastic ties to seal them shut. Delsey has luggage that cannot be tampered with. Otherwise, go for the CDR-King hardshell case. You need padlocks to clamp them. Then wrap everything in plastic.
2. Minimize the number of pockets on your vest or jacket. There have been reports of taxi drivers in cahoots with miscreants who would slip a bullet that way.
Reply
Leave a reply

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RELATED FROM MANILA STANDARD

Palace Addresses Tanim Bala posted November 08, 2015 at 12:01 am by Sara Susanne D. Fabunan and Vito Barcelo


VALTE

AS Filipino reel in shame and overseas workers watch in fear because of the tanim- bala controversy, Malacañang said the Aquino administration will showcase Filipino talents to “plant” a memory that will make foreigners to visit the Philippines again.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said foreigners, particularly the delegates to the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, will see world-class Filipino talents “up close and personal” during the welcome reception.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte
“Maybe news that Filipinos win prestigious contests because they sing or dance well will give visitors the chance to see world-class Filipino talents up close and personal,” Valte said in an interview on state-owned Radyo ng Bayan.

“We hope that the totality of the experience will be the memory our visitors will bring back to their countries,” Valte said.

But the Department of Labor and Employment had a more concrete measure for the tanim-bala controversy and created an inter-agency team to protect overseas Filipino workers who may be victimized by the syndicate planting bullets in the luggage of airline passengers.

“We want to protect our overseas Filipino workers from being victims of the tanim-bala or laglag bala scheme. This deplorable modus operandi is sowing fear among our OFWs who are either going abroad or coming home,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

The inter-agency team will be composed of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, International Labor Affairs Bureau, Legal Service, and Labor Communications Office.

“The main responsibility of the Inter-Agency team is to assist overseas Filipino workers who will be apprehended for alleged possession of ammunitions or bullets,” said Baldoz.

Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III is tasked to lead the inter-agency team which will coordinate with agencies, such as the Manila International Airport Authority, Office for Transportation Security, Philippine Aviation Security Group, Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group, Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation and Public Attorney’s Office.

Baldoz said that if an OFW is apprehended for alleged possession of ammunition or bullets, the POEA and OWWA shall, through their respective Labor Assistance Center and Welfare Officers stationed at the airports, immediately assist the concerned OFW.

The DoLE assistance shall include legal advice; psycho-social counseling; free communication lines to immediate family, friend, recruitment agency, or lawyer; and food and accommodation.

The POEA and OWWA shall immediately advise the ILAB of any OFW’s apprehension or involvement in the said modus operandi.

ILAB, on the other hand, will communicate with the concerned Philippine Overseas Labor Office to advise the foreign agency or employer on the OFW’s situation and, if possible, request that the OFW be given reasonable time to thresh-out the issue.

The POEA shall also inform the OFW’s recruitment agency of the incident for any assistance, such as coordination with the foreign principal/employer and possible placement to other employer in case the OFW’s employment is forfeited.

It shall also issue advisories to recruitment agencies and OFWs on preventive and precautionary measures to avoid being victims of the said scheme.


MANILA BULLETIN

Silent protest over ‘tanim-bala’November 7, 2015 Share502 Tweet99 Share0 Email1 Share1.5K By Ariel Fernandez and Ben R. Rosario

Airport security officials face House grilling over illegal drugs carried by four Pinays


GOD BLESS THEM — Personnel of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), at the center of the ‘tanim-bala’ controversy, resort to prayer as a Holy Mass is held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday, before proceeding to their work stations with pink armbands and ribbons (inset) as a silent protest to accusations they are behind the sinister extortion scheme. (Ariel Fernandez)

Employees of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) yesterday held a silent protest at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) over allegations implicating them in the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scandal that has already tainted the image of the country in the international community.

Wearing pink armbands, the OTS employees decided to gather in a holy mass officiated by airport chaplain Rev. Fr. Ananias “Sonny” Merida at the NAIA Terminal 2 as they condemned sweeping allegations portraying that all of them are involved in the bullet-planting mess.

We decided to pray together as we all know that it is only God who can help stop these accusations against us as well as the tanim-bala scam, said Edgar Anas, national president of the OTS employees.

He also appealed for understanding and asked everyone to wait for the results of the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

President Aquino has already directed the NBI to investigate the “tanim-bala” scam, stressing that they should “watch the watchers (airport screeners).”

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the President wanted to ensure that nobody is abusing the security measures in place at the country’s airports.

READ MORE...

‘TANIM-BALA’ PROBE

As this developed, airport security officials are set to undergo exhaustive grilling at the House of Representatives for failing to stop four Filipinas from slipping out of the country with large amount of illegal drugs, while showing keen alertness in finding bullets from other outbound passengers.

Reps. Win Gatchalian (NPC, Valenzuela City) and Roy Señeres (OFW party-list) said officials in charge of carrying out security measures in the country’s international and domestic airport owe the public an explanation for allowing the Filipinas to slip past X-ray screeners of the OTS.

Gatchalian said the admission of OTS head Roland Recamono that he was not aware of the Filipinas plight is surprising.

Foreign Affairs officials have disclosed that four Filipinas were arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly trying to smuggle a total 2.5 kilos of cocaine.

“This is the height of incompetence, if not stupidity. Here our OTS screeners are having a grand time finding bullets in several luggage and yet, they fail to detect the 2.5 kilos of cocaine that also passed through their X-ray machines,” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian and several other lawmakers have called for a congressional inquiry into the so-called “tanim-bala” scheme of extorting money from outbound passengers at the NAIA terminal.

DIVERSION TACTIC?

Gatchalian aired suspicion that the “tanim-bala” incidents may have been a mere diversion for the illegal drug smuggling incident in Hong Kong.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that there were four Filipinas arrested for the foiled smuggling of 2.5 kilos of cocaine. Sheryl Chua, Marilou Thomas, Remelyn Rogue and a dentist identified as Dr. Ana Loella were arrested when they arrived in Hong Kong via Cebu Pacific flight 5J 142 on September 26.

“It is really surprising how 2.5 kilos of cocaine were able to slip past two X-ray machines manned by airport screeners. Even the drug-sniffing dogs failed to do their jobs to detect illegal drugs,” Gatchalian said.

He said that the bullet-planting scheme allegedly being done by employees of the OTS, which is under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), has worsened the reputation of NAIA among local and foreign travelers, as the airport, still the 8th worst airport in Asia, has yet to improve its current infrastructures.

NBI PROBE

With the NBI investigation, the government expresses hope this will address the incident.

Valte said the NBI has already started its own investigation into the cases of bullets planted on passengers’ bags by alleged erring airport personnel as a form of extortion.

“We know that the NBI is already on deck to conduct their own investigation, kasi nga ang bilin ng Pangulo, you have to watch the watchers,” Valte said in a Palace news conference.

“It’s a general statement for government that while there are security measures, we also have to make sure that these measures are implemented properly, and that no one is taking advantage,” she added.

As this developed, Airport General Manager Jose Angel Honrado assured that authorities are exerting all efforts to address the complaints and allegations of “tanim-bala.”

He also encouraged airport employees to continue performing their duties and responsibilities by ensuring the safety of passengers despite insults and accusations hurled against them.

Honrado also called on all airport employees to be vigilant and report all anomalous activities to law enforcement agencies. (With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)


MANILA STANDARD

‘Bala’ Incidents Rise 775% in 2015 posted November 03, 2015 at 12:01 am by Joyce Pangco Panares, Maricel V. Cruz and Sandy Araneta


THE number of passengers apprehended with bullets in their luggage has shot up 775 percent this year, from only 12 incidents in 2014 to 105 cases from January to November this year, data from the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group showed.

In a phone interview, Supt. Jeanne Panisan of the PNP AvSecGroup attributed the spike not to an extortion racket at the airport but to “tighter security screening.”

This year’s figure is the highest recorded in four years, with only 20 passengers apprehended in 2012 and 21 passengers in 2013.

Panisan said the arrests this year yielded 514 bullets, 24 magazines, 20 firearms, 139 accessories or parts of firearms, and 20 replicas.

An airport official said Monday at least 40 personnel of the Office for Transportation Security are under investigation over allegations that they planted bullets in the luggage of unsuspecting passengers in an attempt to extort money from them.

But Manila International Airport Authority spokesman David de Castro said the OTS personnel cannot be immediately fired as they might be “demoralized.”

Bullet-proofing. Migrant Filipino workers at the airport wrap plastic around their luggage to prevent corrupt officials from planting bullets inside them and then shaking them down for money. Danny Pata The OTS personnel being investigated, however, will have their airport access passes revoked as part of the protocol.

Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay, a presidential candidate in next year’s election, called for the immediate relief of all OTS personnel over the widening extortion scandal.

Independent candidate for President Senator Grace Poe, on the other hand, said MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado must put an end to the extortion syndicate within a week or resign.

Lawmakers on Monday dismissed accusations from administration supporters that the spate of bullet-related arrests at the airport was the work of the political opposition and aimed at embarrassing the administration and hurting the chances of the ruling Liberal Party’s candidate for President, Manuel Roxas II.

Instead of addressing the issue, the Palace and its supporters are trying to mislead the public of the Aquino administration’s failed anti-corruption drive, said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate.

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“It is better for the Aquino administration to bite the bullet and fire its incompetent airport officials like MIAA Manager Jose Honrado,” Zarate said.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III said the reactions from Aquino supporters showed they were in “panic mode of the highest degree.”

Bello was referring to the accusation by Aquino supporter and co-convenor of the Black and White Movement Leah Navarro that the political opposition was behind the planting of bullets at the airport to discredit Roxas.

Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting said the Aquino supporters were making the bullet-planting controversy a political issue when it is not.

“It is an issue of competence and effective governance,” said Tambunting of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

Tambunting also lambasted the government for pointing fingers whenever there are issues that it cannot handle competently.

But a Palace ally, Quezon City Rep. Jorge Banal said the concern raised by the Aquino supporters should not be dismissed out of hand.

“Anything is possible. But it would be better for the authorities to swiftly implement measures that will ensure the safety and convenience of all passengers,” Banal said.

Earlier, several lawmakers led by Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles and Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz demanded the resignation of Honrado to allow a more competent manager to run the country’s airports.

Nograles reminded Honrado that the country’s international airports, particularly the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, is the nation’s window to the world but with the reports about an extortion racket there, the country is now the subject of worldwide ridicule.

“Travelers using our airports are now too terrorized that they even wrap their luggage with masking tape just to stop Naia people from planting bullets into their bags. This is really embarrassing. In no airport in the world can you find this kind of paranoia [among travelers]. Only in the Philippines,” Nograles said.

De la Cruz urged Honrado and all other officials involved in the operations and security of Naia and other international airports around the country to submit their courtesy resignation, especially given the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leader’s Summit in Manila.

Amid persistent reports of an extortion syndicate operating out of the airport, President Benigno Aquino III met Monday with officials from the Department of Transportation and Communications and ordered a wider investigation of the bullet-planting incidents.

“The President has been briefed and has given further instructions to refine the efforts under way. The DoTC as the lead agency will be updating the public,” said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Over the weekend, DoTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya ordered the installation of additional closed-circuit TVs at the airport, Lacierda said.

“We are casting a wide net on the data, on the process and areas for improvements. So, all of these will be tackled by the DoTC. So at some point, DoTC will, and hopefully soon, be informing the public of the situation in the Naia,” Lacierda added.

Asked if there was an order to fire Honrado as lawmakers have demanded, Lacierda said they must first identify the problem.

“Let’s correctly identify the problem so that we can come up with the correct identification of the solution. So that’s the instruction given by the President to DoTC,” said Lacierda.

Lacierda said the President wanted the DoTC investigation to be done by next week.

Lacierda also said not all incidents in which bullets are found in luggage should be assumed to be part of an extortion operation.

He pointed to a Japanese tourist, who admitted he had come from a shooting range and brought a bullet with him.

“So there were no allegations of planting bullets,” Lacierda said. “So we have to look at all the assumptions that came out in the media.” With Macon Ramos-Araneta and Vito Barcelo


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte asks from Aquino: Do something drastic about ‘tanim-bala’ by Alexander D. Lopez November 3, 2015 (updated) Share1 Tweet30 Share0 Email0 Share58


MB File Photo--Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Photo By Alexander D. Lopez) MB File Photo

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Photo By Alexander D. Lopez) DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to fire aviation personnel who are involved in the tanim-bala incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“I’d like to call the attention of the president. He must do something about it immediately. The president should order the relief of all officials and employees connected to the CAAP, the aviation command including those in the porter services and the drivers,” Duterte told the media after paying a visit at the graves of his departed parents at the Davao Catholic Cemetery on Monday evening, November 2.

The mayor emphasized that a syndicate is already operating at the airport, stating existing “conspiracy of the porters and the drivers and the police” at the NAIA.

“Mr. President, I think they have crossed the red line. You must do something drastic about it. Lip service is not enough Mr. President. Dapat yariin mo silang lahat because it has given us a bad name and has placed the Filipino people in jeopardy.”

Duterte added that he has been a loyal supporter of President Aquino and he has asked no favor from the president.

“I asked you nothing before, not even a project or whatsoever, but I demand that as President you must do something about it,” he said.

Duterte also suggested that the president can do such drastic move during the five-day suspension of flights, from November 15 to 20 in preparation for the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

The mayor also proposed to the president that the army and the members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and even the cops from the provinces can temporarily take over the responsibilities of the relieved police and ground personnel of NAIA.

“They should be relieved immediately. Og wala moy tawo (if you no longer have personnel) then let the army do it. Og wala the cops (if you no longer have cops) the policemen from the provinces can do the works.”

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Duterte said he could no longer express the anger that he felt with the developments that are happening at the NAIA and called the CAAP as inutile.

“Passengers at the airport have to wrap their baggage. What kind of government is this?” he emphasized, adding of the clear cases of machinations and planting of evidences.

Duterte also said that the bullets found at the luggage of an engineer at the Davao International Airport could have been planted in Manila.

He said that the engineer never bothered to check his luggage when he arrived here for a meeting with the water district. When he again checked in at Davao airport the bullets were discovered.

The mayor also warned the syndicates not to do it here in Davao.

“We have a P4 million worth of cameras now installed in strategic areas inside the airport here in Davao. Do not do it here. If you do it here then I’ll make you chose what kind of death you wanted, it’s either through the Sparrow Unit or the Davao Death Squad.”

Duterte also accepted the calls for him to stand as legal counsel for all the victims of “tanim-bala”

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Bullet scam: Palace not so eager to sack airport chief By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 3, 2015 - 12:01am 4 696 googleplus0 0


President Aquino meets with heads of agencies on security concerns to discuss the issue of bullet-planting at the NAIA. The meeting was attended by Aviation Security Group chief Superintendent Pablo Francisco Balagtas, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez, NAIA general manager Jose Angel Honrado, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad, Cabinet Secretary Jose Almendras, Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and other Cabinet officials. Honrado won’t resign unless...


MANILA, Philippines - Amid calls for President Aquino to fire Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado over the laglag-bala (bullet-planting) scandal, Malacañang indicated the priority is to “identify the problem correctly” rather than firing the airport chief.

Aquino called a meeting yesterday wherein he directed Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to conduct a thorough probe of the alleged laglag-bala scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda briefed the media after the meeting and was asked about the calls for the replacement of Honrado, a cousin of the President.

“I don’t want to speculate on any action to be taken,” Lacierda said. “Let’s identify the problem correctly so that ... we can identify the solutions also correctly.”

Honrado said he would not resign unless the President, who appointed him, tells him to do so.

“Pag sinabi ng appointing authority na mag-resign na, not a minute longer, not a second longer,” Honrado told GMA News.

He said he respected the opinion of lawmakers, but if they press for his resignation he would think twice.

Honrado was a member of the so-called Yellow Army, providing security to Aquino’s mother Corazon during the Marcos dictatorship and throughout her presidency.

Abaya, as military aide of Mrs. Aquino when she was president, used to be under Honrado’s supervision. Abaya still calls Honrado “sir.”

Lacierda said “the basic premise and the basic dictum, guidance of the President” is to first identify a problem properly.

“He is always meticulous with data and so the instructions were given and the only thing that I can say for now is DOTC will take the lead and explain to the public and inform the public of the measures,” he reiterated.

Calls for Honrado’s resignation mounted following reports of the laglag-bala extortion racket at the NAIA.

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The laglag-bala cases at the airport are isolated incidents but they should be studied very carefully, especially since the Japanese tourist had admitted owning the bullet that was found in his luggage, Lacierda said. “Because we only have what media is reporting… That’s why the President wants to cast a wide net. Let’s look at the entire picture.”

“He admitted that he came from the shooting range and he brought the bullet with him. So there were no allegations of planting bullets,” Lacierda said.

He refused to acknowledge the presence of a syndicate at the airport preying on unsuspecting passengers and said the reports should be validated.

“We are a free country, you are free to express your opinion whether rightly or wrongly. But all we’re asking the public is that let’s wait for the DOTC to come up with their findings and they will let you know,” Lacierda said.

The DOTC has ordered the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) to arrest individuals found carrying even just one bullet in their baggage.

DOTC’s Abaya said finding one bullet would be sufficient for a passenger to get arrested.

If the bullet found is an empty shell, he said the arrest would no longer be necessary, but the item would be confiscated.

In case the bullet satisfies the four requirements for live ammunition, the passenger would have to be arrested.

‘Bawas padala’ Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad are now threatening to cut down their dollar remittances to pressure the government to stop the laglag-bala syndicate at the NAIA.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator, said OFWs are planning to stage a bawas padala drive or limit remittances.

Monterona said the bawas padala campaign would dramatize the OFWs’ disappointment over the government’s failure to stop the laglag-bala syndicate.

“OFWs and our families should act decisively versus the laglag-bala that victimizes our fellow OFWs, thus we need to launch a campaign that will pressure the government to put an end to this extortion scheme at NAIA airports,” Monterona said in a statement.

LTFRB probes taxi The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) summoned the operator and the driver of the Virgil taxi with license plates UVK 190 that was allegedly involved in a laglag-bala case near the NAIA.

LTFRB’s announcement was posted on the agency’s official Twitter account yesterday morning.

LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said that the board would issue a show cause order against the operator and driver of the taxi requiring them to appear at a hearing on Wednesday morning to give their side about the scam that has been circulating online.

Julius Niel Habana posted on Facebook some photos of the Vigil taxi on Oct. 30 warning OFWs who will be going abroad.

Habana said that his seaman friend was on his way to the NAIA on Oct. 29 when he was almost victimized by the laglag-bala scam.

He said his friend noticed that the taxi driver had placed something inside his bag.

Habana said the seaman sent him a text message asking for his advise and he told his friend to go to his place first before going to the airport.

He said when his friend arrived he took the bag from the taxi and they found a .38 caliber bullet inside.

He said that because his friend was catching an international flight, they did not file a complaint against the taxi driver and the seaman took another taxi to the airport.

The Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) clarified that the agency does not have a role in the security screening of luggage of airline passengers arriving and leaving the country.

“I want to grab this opportunity to tell the public that Avsegroup has no part when it comes to security screening of luggages. We don’t put luggages in the X-ray machine. We are being called by the OTS (Office of the Transportation Service) only after they notice some violations in the procedures, like when a passenger is believed to be carrying ammunitions, guns or explosives,” Avsegroup spokesperson Supt. Jeanne Panisan Panisan told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Panisan said there has been an increase in the number of persons arrested for illegal possession of ammunitions at the airports this year compared to 2014.

“There were 30 incidents of illegal possession of ammunitions from January to Nov. 1 this year. There were only 12 cases in 2014, 21 in 2013 and 20 in 2012,” Panisan added.

Panisan said some passengers brought bullets as amulets to protect them from harm while away from their families, but most of the suspects accosted for illegal possession of ammunitions denied bringing the bullets.

She explained that there are two layers of security scanners inside the three international airports and a domestic airport.

Panisan said that based on their initial investigation, there is a remote possibility of a syndicate behind the laglag-bala scam.

She said most incidents of bullet discovery happened at the initial screening area where the big luggages are processed.

When the individual gets off the car or taxi, only the passenger has contact with the luggage or bag, unless they get a porter to carry their belongings.

The passenger carries the luggage about 15 meters to the conveyor, so it is hard to plant something, Panisan said.

She advised airline passengers to personally pack their luggage to ensure that no prohibited item is put in their baggage.

Contrary to media reports that only one bullet was found in luggages indicating it was sneaked in by someone from the airport, Panisan said some of the passengers accosted for illegal possession of ammunition had more than one bullet, and some even carried a whole box of bullets.

Panisan said they welcomed the inquiry to be conducted by an independent body to help Avsegroup clear its name.

The House of Representatives is set to conduct a probe into the bullet planting racket at the NAIA.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, vice chairman of the House committee on tourism, filed a resolution saying that the bullet-planting extortion racket is a serious problem.

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday asked the Aquino administration to thoroughly investigate the laglag-bala scam.

CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Migrant an Itinerant People (ECMIP) chairman Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos issued a statement condemning the repeated incidents of bullet planting that prey on OFWs.

Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday called for the streamlining of the overlapping functions of aviation and security offices following numerous reports of bullet planting cases at the NAIA.

Binay also called for a thorough review of Executive Order 311 creating the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), which he described as a duplication of functions already assigned to agencies like the police Avsegroup.

“On its face, there are overlapping functions concerning airport security. We have Avsegroup of PNP that is supposed to have operational control over security concerns in our airports, and yet you have an autonomous agency under the DOTC supposedly having sole authority over airport security,” he said.

Sen. Grace Poe called on MIAA chief Honrado to immediately stop the bullet planting scam.

In a statement, Poe said that there are several steps that the MIAA could take immediately to address the situation that is giving the country a bad reputation all over the world.

Poe said that the personnel of the OTS should be replaced by other security agents in the meantime as a first step, while the other security measures are being prepared to eliminate the scam.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano is set to file a complaint against airport officials at the Office of the Ombudsman today in relation to the laglag-bala scam. – With Mayen Jaymalin, Rudy Santos, Evelyn Macairan, Helen Flores, Marvin Sy, Robertzon Ramirez Paolo Romero, Louella Desiderio, Edith Regalado


MANILA BULLETIN

Netizens put humor to ‘tanim-bala’, makes memes by Tessa Distor November 3, 2015 Share1 Tweet30 Share0 Email0 Share50

Netizens are using memes to voice out their frustrations over the tanim-bala scheme at various airports in the country.

Several passengers have been complaining about bullets allegedly being planted by airport personnel in their luggage to extort money.

On November 3, 2015, President Benigno Aquino III summoned transport authorities and ordered them to verify and validate all bullet related incidents.

But this is not stopping netizens from posting hilarious memes, parodying these incidents which have been causing embarrassment not only to the Aquino government but also to the country.

Here are some of the memes doing rounds on the Internet.

Photos courtesy of PULPOLitika's Facebook page Photo courtesy of PULPOLitika's Facebook page


MANILA TIMES COMMENTARY

Under Aquino, we’ve become the most violent country in Asia, next to NKorea
November 3, 2015 11:31 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

That’s according to the 2015 rankings by the “Global Peace Index” of 162 countries done annually since 2007 by a panel of international experts in the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The Institute is considered to be the world’s leading think tank in developing metrics for analyzing peace and to quantify its economic benefits.

The overall index uses 24 indicators to measure a country’s peace index, among them, its level of safety, crime incidence, terrorism, and intensity of internal conflict. The Philippine index was low, largely dragged by the indicators for “perceptions of criminality” and “violent crime,” both of which registered a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst.

Under President Aquino, with his “daang matuwid” nonsense, the Philippine ranking has fallen steeply to 141 this year from 130 in 2010. That means countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, as well as Congo and Honduras, have been graded as more peaceful than the Philippines, according to the panel of experts. Another way of putting it: Since 2010, countries such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe have overtaken our country in the peace rankings.

In Asia-Pacific, war-ravaged countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar were regarded as more peaceful than the Philippines. The Philippines is now competing with only North Korea for the dubious distinction of being the most violent country in Asia.

The assessment isn’t at all surprising for anyone looking without yellow glasses on at the sorry state of our nation under Aquino. According to the latest statistics of the Philippine National Police’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, index crimes (murder, homicide, and robbery) for the first six months of 2015 increased 37 percent to total 26.592.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Benigno Aquino 3rd: Other than owing their posts to their parents, they now have something else in common.

Watching TV news these days is sickening: there isn’t any news broadcast when no violent crime is reported, with street murders carried out by killers riding motorbikes’ pillions having become commonplace. Given the ubiquitousness of closed-circuit television, every TV news program now has a “CCT segment,” which depicts a metropolis in an unending crime wave.

The rape and murder of teenaged girls no longer shock us, and journalists now seem to be routinely assassinated. Even our airports have become a dangerous place to be, with travelers so relieved when they get on their planes without being charged with carrying a goddamn bullet in their bags.

In early October, criminals who claimed to be Abu Sayyaf Islamic jihadists kidnapped two Canadian tourists and a Norwegian resort owner. The kidnappers threatened to behead their hostages in a video that had a black flag looking similar to what the barbarous ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been displaying.

Quite shockingly, Aquino doesn’t seem to care, treating it as just a crime incident.

Doesn’t he realize that this could be driving away not just tourists but foreign investors as well? If this happened in past administrations, as it did under President Arroyo’s time, a high-level crisis committee would be organized, and the rescue of the hostages would be the most important concern of the presidency.

Not under this president.

The assessments of the country by international panels obviously are so different when we don’t pay for them, as we did in the case of credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. So far, the Aquino government has spent P3 billion for these agencies’ fees and expenses (including first-class fare and accommodations for their staff) for the 12 ratings it has requested them to issue since 2011, all of which painted a rosy picture for the Philippines’ creditworthiness.
PHL: Second most dangerous place in Asia

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PHL: Second most dangerous place in Asia

But of what use are these if in the past years interest rates in the world have been dropping, with international banks and investment funds falling over themselves in pushing cheap loans?

Of what use are these expensive ratings if the Philippines is perceived as one of the two most dangerous places to live in Asia?

In another ranking system, which we don’t pay for – the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business report – the Philippines slipped six notches to 103rd from last years’ 97th slot among 189 economies, primarily because of increasing corruption and red tape.

A lot of people have been foolishly claiming that we aren’t getting enough foreign investment because of constitutional restrictions. Can’t they see that “foreign investors” are not abstract entities, but executives or capitalists (with families) who, like everyone else, value their life and limb?

Why on earth would they want to do business here when other Asian countries with lower wage rates are much safer places for them and their families to live in? Indonesia, for chrissake, was ranked 41 on the list, or 95 notches above us in the global peace index; even Vietnam stood 85 ranks above us at the 56th slot.

And next to Aquino, who is mainly accountable for the country’s slide to the lowest peace rank as the most violent place in Asia after North Korea?

Manuel Araneta Roxas II – that’s who – as he had been since September 2012 secretary of the interior and local government department. The post automatically made him chairman of the National Police Commission, and therefore, in command of the police. He has also been after all, Aquino’s sidekick in the past five years.

Where does Roxas get the audacity to think he should be president, when he has utterly failed in his task of making this country a safe place to live in, so that we have been ranked second only to North Korea as the most violent country in Asia?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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