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Manila International Airport Authority eyes composite team vs pilferage

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Baggage build up area. Photo © http://news.abs-cbn.com

IN A bid to prevent pilferage, the authorities at the Philippines’ premier airport are mulling to organize a composite team to make random inspections of personnel that have access at the baggage build up areas.

Newly appointed Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal said the plan is one of his team’s priorities. It is meant to discourage some ramp workers from pilfering passengers’ luggage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

The composite team, he said, would be comprised of personnel from the Airport Police Department (APD), PNP-Aviation Security Group and private security guards. Their job will be to solely protect the baggage build up area from “thieves.”

Furthermore, Monreal bared plans to put up state-of-the-art closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) at the baggage build up areas particularly at the NAIA 1 to replace the ageing CCTVs which were installed in the 1990s.

The baggage build up area is where all luggage of both arriving and outgoing passengers are being sorted and loaded before being brought either to the baggage carousel at the arrival area or at the waiting plane. It is jointly manned by airline employees and airport baggage handling and security personnel.

MIAA administrators in the past has launched a campaign against baggage pilferage in an effort to help the airlines in protecting its passengers’ check-in luggage from unscrupulous station loaders who are employees of a subsidiary corporation of NAIA’s accredited ground handling companies.

The workers assigned to that area wear outfits that have no pockets and are frisked by guards whenever they enter or leave. Bringing their cell phones and wearing jewelries inside the area is also strictly prohibited.

Nevertheless, Monreal warns people from putting valuables in their luggage. It is better to place these items in their carry-on bags. He noted that pilferage is not only happening in NAIA but in other countries as well.

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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