Solano Stories

The Willing And Unwilling Airline Passengers

Written By: Rex Solano - Nov• 15•15

If we have to build an analytical and theoretical argument on why this “ laglag bala” scam is diffusely happening at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), it can be deviously attributed to the “willing and unwilling” airline passengers; the willing passengers who caved in to the demand of the perpetrators and the unwilling passengers who refused to give in to any extortion scheme based on truth and honesty.

I have been a frequent traveler to Philippines and I know full well that once I arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, porters will already harass me by pretending profoundly to help. I am used to their old style of assisting arriving passengers with an idea in mind that after helping me, they expect a tip in return for their services. In so many years of traveling from Hawaii to Philippines, I did not encounter any problems with the security personnel or airport X-ray operators. Perhaps or maybe because as a traveler I am a willing passenger who generously hands out dollars just to make a transition of catching my connecting flight to Kalibo (Aklan) as smooth and convenient as possible. I always thought that with a small amount given to the porters and X-ray operators compared to all the hassles and delays of my flight; which the worst that could happen may be to book a hotel for an overnight stay, would put me cursively at ease and to free myself from any worries and problems.

I always deal myself with the virtual meaning in life that confronting a stumbling block in the airport is a challenge to my own mental toughness. To me this “ Laglag-Bala” scam has been going on for so long that some travelers especially foreigners were not aware of. As I said, this “laglag bala “scam would never come to light nor it would be known had we always had the willing airline passenger who was inclined in their hearts and compassionate enough to dole out a small amount to the joys of the majority of the security screeners who are doing their jobs arduously despite the hectic and tremendous pressures being asked of them. I don’t believe that a syndicate is neither behind this “tanim bala” (planting bullets) scam nor to discredit the Philippine Administration for political reasons. This is the work of a lone group of porters and security screeners who plotted this scheme to get a chance of collecting, not extorting money from those willing airline passengers who does not want any trouble, inconvenience or delays with their traveling schedule especially if they have to take a domestic connecting flight.

I for myself have been bothered with a guilty conscience. Maybe I was one of the few who spoiled them by giving tips, and thus became a rampant practice that they have always had hand-outs from all airline passengers to do the same, expecting all tourists, OFW’s and balikbayans (returning Filipino) to give them tips for the job they were doing. Sadly though, some are not so generous tippers than others. Gee! Even waiters and waitresses, shuttle bus driver, hotel bellboys, and other personal help expect tips for their services, so why not the security screeners who are doing an important job to protect by scanning and screening potential dangerous items so that passengers will have a safe flight. It just so happened that the security and x-ray operators had finally met their match from the unwilling passengers who does not believe in giving tips, much more the extortion’s based on their own principle of being honest and fear of God, by morally believing that the scheme of having bullets planted and found in their luggage are so incomprehensible to admit.

By these recent incidents happening in the well- loved country tourists like to visit, we found solace and comforting thoughts from the victims themselves like American missionary Lane Michael White, Rhed Austria De Guzman and other airlines passengers who boldly come to expose these anomalous “ laglag bala “scams by unscrupulous porters and airport X-ray operators; maybe for now this bullet planting scandal will come to a closure and put a stop to this atrocious and despicable method by extorting money at the expense of travelers who are supposedly helping to boost the Philippine Tourism Industry in the confine of their own country.

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