THE embattled Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly been mulling the setting up of its own x-ray machines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Philippines premier air terminal, to ensure the safety Saudi bound passengers and their aircraft.
An airport source who asked not to be named for security purposes, told this writer that the Saudi government recently asked the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs for permission to undertake this kind of security measure. The request was later forwarded by the DFA to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) for consideration.
Furthermore, the source added, the Saudis want their x-ray machines to be setup at the airport’s Terminal 1 Departure Area and near the boarding gate to be used exclusively for Saudi bound flights. He said the Saudis expected the x-ray machines to deter the movement of suspected terrorists against the Sunni Muslim dominated kingdom.
“The Saudi government wanted to put up machines at NAIA during their flights from Manila to Saudi Arabia because of a ‘confidential information’ they received that unidentified terrorists, who are now in Southeast Asia, have an alleged plan to bomb Saudi planes,” the sources said.
The kingdom, which is ruled by the House of Saud, recently severed its diplomatic relation with its main rival Iran, a Shiite Muslim country in the Persian Gulf, after a mob attacked its embassy in Iran’s capital city of Tehran. The mob attack, reports said, was in response for the kingdom’s recent beheading of Nimr al-Nimr, a charismatic Shia religious leader from eastern Saudi Arabia.
The kingdom is also engaged in a losing war in Yemen where it is battling Shiite rebels and an oil war against the United States and Russia which is behind the oil price slump in the international market. It is also recently reported that Saudi together with fellow Sunni Turkey are also planning to invade neighboring Syria, a Shiite country, in a bid to oust its president, Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, MIAA Assistant General Manager for Security and Emergency Services Jesus Gordon said he will discuss this matter with the airline concerned and the authority’s security officials for immediate implementation if necessary.
“All our security personnel at the NAIA are 24/7 alert. We don’t want anything to happen and we are trying our best to prevent any threat to destabilize airport operations.”