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The House of Saud gets its way in the Philippines — as usual…

Flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

THE Saudi Arabian government will soon be putting up its own security x-ray machines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after the Philippine government acquiesced to have a foreign owned security device operating at the country’s premier airport. 

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Assistant General Manager for security and emergency services Jesus Gordon Descanzo  said they are “expecting that the x-ray machines will arrive from Saudi Arabia next week.” He said these devices will be installed at the departure and the boarding gate areas of the NAIA Terminal 1, and will be used exclusively for passengers of Saudia Airlines to ensure their safety.

Saudia Airlines, the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, operates at the NAIA terminal 1.

The Sunni Muslim Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made this unusual request to the Philippine government after reportedly receiving intelligence report that Iranian security operatives operating in Southeast Asia are reportedly planning to bomb the Saudia air fleet.

Saudi Arabia 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 Arabia together with fellow Sunni Turkey are poised to invade Syria, a Shiite country, in a bid to oust its president, Bashar al-Assad.

MIAA_LogoMeanwhile, NAIA authorities disclosed that they are now using EQO body scanners to ensure the security of departing aircraft passengers . The scanner, which uses waves to produce an image much like an x-ray machine, can detect even a small amount of explosives. Fourteen scanners, costing P12 million each (US $260,000), were purchased by the government for the NAIA.

Security personnel operating these scanners said passengers are asked to empty their pockets, remove their wristwatches, shoes, wallet and belt before being allowed to pass through the scanner.

 

Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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