Solano Stories

A Bullet With No Gun

Written By: Rex Solano - Sep• 29•15

Aside from fear of flying, wary about potential terrorist hijacking the plane, now comes the most egregious threat that will obviate and alter the traveling plans of passengers going to the Philippines coming from other countries. If the so called ” laglag-bala” scams that went viral on social media about the planting of bullets on the luggage of travelers are proven to be true, then the NAIA managements have a big responsibility to tackle and solve these type of pernicious problems happening on their watch. This is so frightful, just to think about it. Imagine a vacationer trying to get a glimpse of how beautiful Philippines is, that instead of having a lot of fun enjoying the wonderful places to visit like the Boracay Island, Palawan and other scenic and picturesque spots in the Philippines, they are now pressured to worry about the devastating effect of being framed, landing in jail or delayed their flight back home by virtue of being suspected of having bullets found in their luggage?

This is not only an isolated case but a common practice that proves to be a real threat to all travelers. If not of the courage and temerity of tourist Lane Michael White and a balikbayan Rhed Austria De Guzman, who came bold in public to expose these scams, we would never know the deepening problems existing in Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The irony about this case is the admission of OTS Spokesman Jonathan Maliwat that the bullet is not planted. Mr. Maliwat defended the action of his security personnel that the bullets indeed belongs to 20 year old Lane Michael White. But who are they trying to fool or who is crying wolf when evidences were pointing to a significant factor that Mr. White was absolutely being framed? Any person who has common sense will adhere to the fact that it is indeed a scam, a vituperative manner of extorting money from passengers selectively at their own discretion. We may be short of our own knowledge and not knowing how long has the scam been operating at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport but for now I know for sure that nobody has just got the guts to tell the proper authority of abuses by their own employees except those two passengers who were victimized.

Santa Purisima, to me this “laglag-Bala” scam is like a robbery happening during broad daylight. One official claimed this is as an isolated case. But if we have to analyze this case, one has to wonder, why and how a tourist in the person of Lane Michael White was able to carry that bullet in his luggage, when in fact he came all the way from Florida with their TSA screening security so strictly enforced, and again we are being aided with another incredible theory, how many connecting flights did Mr. White made before he was able to arrive in the Philippines? At domestic airport he book a flight bound to the province of Palawan but unfortunately his flight was cancelled. During the time he was awaiting another flight that would take him this time to his destination, Lane Michael White must have had negligently left his luggage unattended, the reason a person who maybe an accomplice of this “laglag-bala gang, “was able to sneaked-in, then planted the bullets in his luggage? Of course as honest and innocent as this so called missionary from Florida denied the accusation that he carried the bullet in his luggage and for a forced measures of the truth disclaimed it vehemently. I can only sympathize with Mr. White but that is how the scheme or scams operates especially when employees manning the security screening systems are so desperate to have at least a ” pasalubong” or gift from passengers coming from other country, which sadly stated that Mr. White is unaware of the Philippine cultural tradition. Despite of the prescribing law to state in part that any violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act under section 38 of Republic Act 10591 or the firearms law, does not resonates well to the NAIA security employees. As it would have been, any violators will be punished so severely, at the most will be imprisoned for life. Yet, despite of the consequential punishment of imprisonment for life, NAIA personnel involved in the scam, does not seems to be alarmed nor terrified of what they were doing because no one, again no one ever has the courage to squeal on them.

I commended Senator Ralph Recto for his quick action to fix this problem, much more the remedial to file a resolution seeking investigation of abuses allegedly committed by the NAIA personnel involved in this ” laglag-Bala ” scams.

The despicable actions of these security employees involved in the scams, if it is true, has disgracefully brought forth a black eye and tarnish the images of the Philippine Tourism Industry; thus far portraying as a hypocrite by displaying on all billboards advertisements inviting to come and visit the beautiful Philippine country, only to be ridiculed, mocked and put to shame by their own unscrupulous employees who supposed to protect passengers from any unfair treatment.

It’s sad, bitter and painful to come to our own senses to describe how we can cope to defend, patronize and even convince foreigners to come to Philippines and promote how beautiful, admirable and wonderful the Philippine is; if our own agencies which are supposed to safeguard and protect Airline passengers are the very one who will put a burden, instill fears and cruelty of being thrown in jail, then anytime we travel to Philippines, we must always seek the intercession of the Lord for all we know God is the only true reliant where we rest assures of our freedom are not being abused and victimized by those who has no consciences and regards towards the feeling of others

Parting words from Missionary Lane Michael White, “they can lie to people but not to God.”

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