FOOT METAL DETECTORS INSTALLED AT NAIA
MANILA, April 24, 2004 (STAR) By Sandy Araneta - Hours after President Arroyo ordered airport officials to discontinue the shoe inspection security requirement for departing passengers, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) started installing foot metal detectors in the two terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Gen. Angel Atutubo, MIAA’s assistant general manager for security and emergency services, told reporters the other night that they have installed six of these detectors in NAIA Terminal 1 and two in the airport’s Centennial Terminal. Atutubo said the detectors are wooden platform boxes measuring 12 inches long, 14 inches wide and four inches high. The departing passenger is asked to step into the box, which contains a handheld metal detector that sends out an alarm if any metal is detected on the passenger’s shoes.
Airport inspectors then ask the passenger to remove the shoes, which are then manually inspected for possible "shoe bombs."
Atutubo said these boxes cost approximately P200 each, adding that the placement of a handheld metal detector inside the wooden platform is just a prototype and subject to improvement.
The other day, Mrs. Arroyo issued a verbal directive to NAIA officials during the 25th National Conference of Employers for them to discontinue the shoe inspection of departing passengers, except for those bound for countries like the United States which strictly enforce the policy of inspecting footwear as part of their anti-terrorism measures.
Prior to the installation of these foot metal detectors, each passenger used to spend about three to five minutes to take off his or her shoes and place them on a tray for inspection at the x-ray machines. Due to this, a long queue happens every time a flight is scheduled for departure, especially for fully booked international flights that check in about 300 passengers.
The inspection of footwear was first imposed in all US airports, for both domestic and international bound passengers, as a precaution following a foiled attempt in 2002 by alleged "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid to blow up a US airliner.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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