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    PH BoC preparing to auction a multi-million peso passenger aircraft to recover unpaid obligations

    July 16th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Image ©

    BUREAU of Customs authorities on Monday finally seized a passenger aircraft which was grounded last year for non-payment of import duties and taxes at the time of importation.

    BoC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the previous importer of the aircraft, a British-made BAE 146-100 with registry number RP-C8538, failed to settle its tax obligations to the government amounting to more than PhP90 million.

    The owner and the present management of the 80-seater four-engine jet, Magnum Air (Skyjet), has consistently cooperated and participated in all legal proceedings conducted by the BoC, Lapeña said, adding that the seizure case has been ongoing for more than one year.

    Records showed that the BoC took the custody of the plane on March 29, 2017, after the original owner failed to show proof of payment of duties and taxes, and other documents on the acquisition of the aircraft and its operations.

    According to Magnum, they purchased the plane from its previous owner without knowledge that it has unsettled tax obligations.

    Customs District III Collector Carmelita Talusan said when the aircraft original owner was first alerted on March last year, then as district collector of Port of Subic, she requested for a letter of authority to demand proof of payment of duties ans taxes as no record of any import entry or warehousing entry was filed by the owners.

    Based on reports, Magnum Air was a former registered locator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) but was delisted and has ceased operations in 2014.

    “Presently, the aircraft is forfeited in favor of the government after finding that its importation was attended with fraud and for being used in commercial flights since its importation without payment of customs duties and taxes,” Lapeña said.

    Customs-NAIA authorities said the forfeited Skyjet is estimated to be worth PhP583.58 million or around US$10.916 million.

    Magnum Air is liable to pay to the bureau an estimated of PhP90,514,936 for the aircraft customs duties and taxes excluding penalties and charges.

    Magnum Air, Inc., filed an appeal against the forfeiture order of the Port of NAIA. It is now pending at the District Wii’s Legal Service.

    The current owner of the aircraft, Magnum Air, said it is willing to comply with any lawful decision “that may arise from this seizure proceedings which resulted from the previous management’s illegal acts.”

    Magnum disclosed that it has filed a case of syndicated estafa as early as February 2016 against the previous management for illegal acts and other irregularities, a copy of the complaint has been submitted to BoC during the seizure proceedings.

    Upon finality of the Order of Forfeiture, Talusan said, the Port of NAIA will proceed with the public auction of aircraft, which will be the first auction of an aircraft in the country.


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    Ultra comfy plane to serve Manila-Sapporo route starting September- PAL

    July 6th, 2018

    Benjie Lim Vergara

    PAL Airbus A321 landing at Haneda Airport. Image ©

    THE Philippine Airlines is set to use its new ultra comfortable Airbus A321neo Aircraft for its Manila-Sapporo route come September 10 this year.

    PAL president and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista said “on our flights to Sapporo, PAL passengers can expect an ultra-comfortable travel experience with the improved cabin and seat features of our new airbus A321neo airplane.”

    He added that aside from ultra-comfortable travel experience, it has Wifi connectivity and excessive in-flight entertainment options.

    The new Airbus A321neo aircraft was first used on July 2 by the four star carrier on its Manila-Brisbane route.

    The 168-seater Airbus A321neo has 12 seats in business class and 156 seats in economy class. Its business class cabin boasts generous seat pitch (legroom) of 60 inches and seats that are up to 23 inches wide and recline to become full flat beds, measuring 78 inches in length. The economy cabins offer ample stretching room with a seat pitch of 32 inches.

    The new PAL route, Bautista said, will be the only one-stop air link between the Philippines and Sapporo, the capital of the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido is accessible by high speed train going to Tokyo.

    PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna, meanwhile, said the nonstop PAL service will operate thrice weekly every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, landing at Sapporo’s new Chitose Airport using the flag carrier’s brand-new aircraft.

    Sapporo will be the next Japanese destination served by PAL.

    According to PAL Vice President for Operations Ismael Augusto Gozon, the new Chitose Airport is about an hour from the dive bars to the city of Sapporo and it is 15 minutes by train, and 60 minutes by water service.

    “The new Chitose Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Japan. It is used by a little less than 21 million passengers. Actually, we are happy that we now have an equipment that can bring us to this new and exciting place that is Sapporo,” Gozon said during the launch of Manila-Sapporo service.

    Gozon revealed that they initially test marketed the Sapporo through charter flight two days ago and last year, where Filipinos are now all over.

    “The reception was actually very good. It actually resulted very well to the market.”

    From Manila, PAL currently flies to Fukuoka, Nagoya (Chubu), Osaka (Kansai), and Tokyo (both Narita and Haneda airports); from Cebu, the airline operates flights to Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo, Narita.

    PAL said, all these services translate to a total of 89 weekly PAL flights between the Philippines and Japan making the airline with the largest route network in Japan from its two main hubs in Manila and Cebu.

    It offers a one-day today (July 6) said of US$399 round trip for economy base fare, and US$599 for business class. Its regular fare to Sapporo is US$999 for economy class, while US$1650 for business class.


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    Australia Boomers flew out of Manila

    July 3rd, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Australia Boomer versus Gilas Pilipinas. Image © ABS-CBN News

    THE members of Australia Boomers, the Australian National Men’s Basketball Team, who were recently involved in a brawl with Gilas Pilipinas left for Australia, Tuesday afternoon assisted by the staff members of the Australian Embassy and under tight security.

    Ninoy Aquino International Airport security personnel made sure that no one would get near the Australian cagers while they were checking in at the Philippine Airlines counter for their 3:10 pm. flight to Australia via Singapore.

    Only Matthew Dellavedova, an Australian professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basket Association (NBA) left Manila via China Airlines.

    The Australian and Filipino cagers on Monday engaged each other in a fist fight during the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

    Video ©  ZA17 / Youtube

    According to the sports network ESPN:

    A fight resulting in 13 ejections broke out during the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday.
    The Boomers were up 79-48 with 4:01 left in the third period when the game was suddenly halted after a collision between Gilas guard Roger Pogoy and Australian veteran Chris Goulding started what would eventually escalate into an ugly free-for-all.
    The game was eventually called when Gilas was left with only one player.
    The brawl began with Goulding knocked to the floor after the collision, prompting Australian big man Daniel Kickert to hit Pogoy with an elbow.
    Both benches emptied, with punches thrown from both camps. South Sudan-Australian forward Thon Maker was seen kicking Gilas naturalized player Andray Blatche during the bench-clearing incident.
    Terrence Romeo also threw a punch at the back of Maker’s head. Maker, who played last season for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, retaliated with a flying kick but missed Romeo.
    One Aussie player appeared to be hit by a chair, and some fans threw debris on the court as the fight escalated.
    After assessing the replay of the fight, officials made a decision to eject 13 players from the game.
    Australian players Maker, Christopher Goulding, Nathan Sobey, and Daniel Kickert, and nine players from the Philippine team – Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Carl Bryan Cruz, Calvin Abueva, Blatche, Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright were disqualified.
    When the game resumed, Gilas only fielded three players – June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, and Baser Amer. Norwood and Fajardo soon fouled out, leaving Amer as the lone Philippine player on the court which forced the officials to call the game with Australia winning 89-53.
    Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio addressed the crowd after the brawl subsided.
    “I want to appeal to everybody to please settle down,” he said. “We didn’t want what happened to happen. We are hosting this game, and this is basketball. We will wait for the referees’ decision. Please respect the game and make our visitors safe in the arena. We will continue the game. Let’s show respect to our friends from Australia. Let’s respect also the decision that will come out from the referees.”
    Gilas coach Chot Reyes after the game defended his players.
    “I understand the disappointment, I understand that some are embarrassed, but you don’t know what happened. You have to be in the team, you have to be in our circle to really understand what went down,” he said.
    FIBA, in a statement, said Australia and the Philippines will face “disciplinary proceedings” and decisions will be made in the coming days.
    Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore expressed his disappointment following the match played in front of more than 22,000 fans.
    “Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight’s match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila. We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it,” Moore said in a statement that was posted in an article at

    (Read More:

    Reports said the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has invited players of Gilas Pilipinas following the national team’s involvement in a brawl against Australia Boomers to discuss the incident.


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    MIAA upgrades NAIA 1 passenger boarding bridges

    June 28th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    NAIA Terminal 1. Image ©

    THE Manila International Airport Authority has began to upgrade the 33-year old rickety Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s steel aerobridges with ones made with glass.

    “The decades old aerobridges are now outdated rendering them unreliable with incidents of breakdown frequently occurring from time to time,” said MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal.

    (File photo) NAIA’s old aerobridge. Image ©

    According to an open source website, Wikipedia, an aerobridge or jet bridge is an enclosed, movable connector which commonly extends from an airport terminal gate to an airplane.

    The passenger boarding bridge connects the airport walkway directly to the aircraft. It provides ease and convenience to passengers and protects them from both hot and humid or inclement weather.

    Aside from the passenger bridges that are air conditioned, it would also be equipped with CCTV camera with a view of the apron.

    Airport officials explained that the bridges are also designed with programmable motor controller and are GPU (ground power unit) ready.

    Monreal said the upgrading includes the design manufacturing, factory testing, delivery and installation of new customized units of apron-type and pedestal-type passenger boarding bridges. He added that that NAIA Terminal 1 passengers will soon be treated to more modern aerobridges as they disembark or board their flights.

    Phase 1 of the project consists of replacement of 9 units while Phase 2 includes 11 of boarding bridges, Monreal explained.

    (File photo) NAIA’s new aerobridge. Image ©

    “Currently being implemented is Phase 1 with a total project cost of PhP318,998,885.98. Actual replacement commenced this week,” Monreal said, adding that the target date of completion for this phase is December 2018.

    On the other hand, Monreal said, Phase 2 is due for bidding with actual implementation expected to commence by first quarter of 2019.

    According to MIAA, when NAIA 1 was under construction in the late 1970s, Shinmaywa Industries, Inc. supplied the 20 aerobridges. The said units were the first of its kind in the Philippines back then.

    The MIAA stated that supplier of the new aerobridges for NAIA 1 is Shenzhen CIMC-TianDa Airport Ltd (CIMC-Tianda), whose company core business is airport support equipment, among others.

    To date, MIAA added, the company has supplied over 4,000 units of passenger boarding bridges in 200 airports worldwide exporting to more than 60 countries since it began manufacturing boarding bridges in 1989.

    “Rest assured that we will work doubly hard to make a difference for the benefit of the air riding public,” Monreal said.



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    Drug syndicates resorting to air mail to smuggle drugs in PH

    June 25th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Image ©

    THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said international drug syndicates have started resorting heavily on using the country’s postal services to do their illegal trade.

    According to PDEA Intelligence Agent III Gerald Javier, drug syndicates are trying to obtain legitimate Philippine home addresses as part of their strategy to traffic illegal drugs in the country. He noted that all seized parcels or package by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) are Manila bound but cannot be delivered because of fictitious names and addresses.

    Javier admitted that this development is a puzzle for the PDEA because it appears that although drug traffickers are now transporting illegal drugs via airmail, they eventually abandon the contraband to the BoC.

    The BoC said all parcels that were issued seizure warrant and detention have no claimants. It added that all parcels confiscated at NAIA and Clark were subjected to a controlled delivery, but since the names and addresses of the consignees turned out to be fictitious, these operations were not successful.

    “Maybe it is a diversion. We don’t know and can’t conclude,” Javier said.

    Javier is one of the PDEA officers who witnessed the BoC’s turn over of 17.96 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and 1.03 kilos of dried marijuana to the PDEA for proper disposal. The contraband items were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport (CIA).

    Image ©

    As this developed, BoC District III Collector Carmelita Talusan disclosed that the bureau has strengthened the protocol in monitoring airborne packages since the beginning of this year.

    “All package and parcels arriving at the bonded warehouses such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the government’s Central Mail Exchange Center are strictly monitored for we know that contraband goods are mixed with legitimate shipments,” Talusan said, adding that the BoC’s vigilance has resulted in the foiling every week of postal drug smuggling.

    Despite their continuing failure, drug traffickers have continued to send illegal drugs via the postal services, she said.

    According to BoC records a number of illegal drugs seized came from the United States and usually declared as DVD players, furniture, cereals, and baby carriers. The record further shows that these narcotics were in five inbound parcels that were intercepted within the span of three weeks from May 26 to June 7, 2018.

    Moreover, the report of the Office of the District Collector of NAIA also showed that two kilograms of shabu, which is part of the 17.96 kilos were seized on June 20 this year at Clark, was declared as bed foam.

    Former PDEA Chief now BoC Commissioner Isidro Lapena Photo ©

    Meanwhile, BoC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña directed all customs collector to be vigilant and properly coordinate their efforts in protecting the country’s borders against the entry of illegal drugs and other contraband.

    Early last week, the BoC District III has intercepted misdeclared shoes and non-Food and Drug Administration approved Goree beauty products and glutathione products.

    “These cannot be done without the efforts of the Customs officers who are doing the examination on the ground, as well as the BoC’s strengthened coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency,” Lapeña observed.

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    The Philippine Terminal, a sort of reprise of the movie “The Terminal”

    June 23rd, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    The Ninoy Aquino International Airport ©

    A JAPANESE traveler was stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport just like the character Victor Navorski, played by Tom Hanks, in the comedy-drama movie “The Terminal,” who was marooned at the John F. Kennedy International Airport for nine months.

    Except for the stranded part, however, the similarity ends there as unlike Navorski, who was stuck at the airport following a coup d’etat in his country that rendered him stateless thus ineligible to travel or enter the United States, Tetsuya Makita fell victim to three alluring thieves who took advantage of his kindness and stole his luggage and was thus stuck at the NAIA for four days.

    Lt. Jaime Estrella of the Airport Police Department said on June 16, while waiting for his Narita, Japan-bound flight at the departure curbside of NAIA’s Terminal 1; the 58-year old Tetsuya was approached by three young beautiful female, one of whom engaged him in a conversation.

    While conversing and obviously distracted, Estrella said, the other women surreptitiously took Tetsuya’s luggage which contained his passport, other important documents, cellular phones and around Y50,000 (PhP24,255.50). At this point, the lady who was chatting with the victim took her leave and immediately disappeared among the crowd. Moments later, Tetsuya found out that he lost all his personal belongings, Estrella said.

    Tetsuya reported the incident to the Airport Police Station at NAIA 1. However, since he has no his travel documents, he was not allowed to board his flight.

    Estrella then offered his office to Tetsuya for him to stay while he asked the Japanese Embassy, in his behalf, for  temporary travel documents so he could go home.

    Finally, on Wednesday, Tetsuya received his papers from his embassy and was finally allowed by Philippine immigration authorities to leave for Japan at about 2 pm. Before boarding his flight, Tetsuya profusely thanked the APD for their support, Estrella said.


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    “Lost and Found” in NAIA

    June 22nd, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File photo) NAIA Terminal 3 luggage carousel © (photo taken with Olympus digital camera)

    EIGHT months ago, Marilyn Vallada lost close to PhP100,000 in one of the restrooms of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and has written off that money for good.

    But last Tuesday, the unexpected happened as Vallada, a resident of Nueva Ecija, received a call from the Lost and Found Section of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) inquiring whether she is still interested in claiming her wallet containing 19 pieces of Y10,000 bills or about PhP92,028.40.

    MIAA Assistant General Manager for Security and Emergency Services (AGMSES) Arnulfo Junio said his office made the inquiry because it is conducting an inventory of all unclaimed item in the last six months. He added that unclaimed items are turned over to the MIAA’s trust fund.

    Junio said the Lost and Found Section personnel found Vallada’s wallet while doing the inventory. He added that as they made a second inspection of the item, they found a Philippine Airlines (PAL) boarding pass with Vallada’s name leading them to call PAL’s customer relations office and inquire for Vallada’s contact number.

    The surprised Vallada, who works as an entertainer in Japan, went to the NAIA on Wednesday afternoon where she was “reunited” with her missing wallet.

    “I am amazed and really surprised,” Vallada told Beyond Deadlines as she thanked Junio’s staff.

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    A true hero returns home

    June 20th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Henry Acorda. Image © DFA

    THE remains of a true hero returns home Tuesday morning only to be met with a mediocre government presence.

    The body of Henry Acorda, who was mortally injured for defending a Filipina by a suspected Neo-Nazi in Slovakia, was flown in to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport accompanied by his mother in a jet plane provided by the Slovakian government. They were met at the tarmac by Department of Foreaign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and a few other minor DFA functionaries.

    According to the DFA, the 36-year old victim was mauled by a suspected Neo-Nazi after he defended a Filipina who is also being beaten. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died. The mauling suspect, who was identified as Juraj Hossu, was arrested and now awaiting trial, the DFA added.

    Cayetano said Henry’s remains will be brought to Heritage Park by the Arlington Funeral Home and will be laid to rest on Saturday.

    “His heroism make us proud to be a Filipino,” Cayetano said as he disclosed that in honor of the OFW’s heroism, an OFW Center in Taguig will be named “Henry Acorda Center.”

    June 8 gathering in Bratislava in memory of Henry Acorda (Source: SME)

    Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters, mostly in their 20s, turned out in Hodžovo Námestie square in Bratislava, Slovakia.

    According to the Slovak Spectator:

    The organizers of the commemorative gathering expressed their sympathy for the family of the killed Filipino expat and called for an end to violence against women and foreigners in society.

    More than 1,000 people came out on June 8 to pay tribute to Filipino expat Henry Acorda, who succumbed to his injuries following a brutal attack of Juraj Hossu in late May. They later marched through the city to the memorial raised at the end of Obchodná Street where the incident took place.

    Bratislava gathering for murdered Filipino expat Henry Acorda

    Posted by The Slovak Spectator on Friday, June 8, 2018

    This tragedy is devastating not only for us, his family, and his friends, but all of humanity,” Acorda’s sister wrote in a letter read at the gathering.

    As she stressed, Acorda came to Slovakia a year ago, ready to fulfill his dreams and experience life in a foreign country. He loved people and respected them and their diversity, which eventually cost him his life.

    Henry John Acorda did not deserve this tragedy,” his sister continued. “We will never forget this noble and heroic act of kindness and respect, especially for women. He was a hero in our hearts.”

    Acorda’s sister thanked both the Slovak and Filipino government for their “collaborative efforts in pursuing justice for my beloved brother”.

    Apart from expressing sympathy for Acorda’s family, the organisers wanted to express their concern with the current state of society. They also called for just investigation of Acorda’s death.

    Acorda’s sister wrote in the letter that this tragedy could happen to any of us, and asked whether people want it to continue or want to stop it.

    Other speakers also stressed the need to stop violence happening in Slovakia.

    The organisers said that at first, the respective authorities seemed indifferent to the case and hoped that nobody would notice the death of an expat, and started acting only after public pressure.

    We won’t allow the state authorities to sweep the murder under the carpet as a mishap or an ordinary night conflict,” one of the organisers said.

    They called on proper investigation of the incident and justice for the family, and stressed that it needs to be seen in a wider context, pointing to the current atmosphere in society that trivializes violence against women and harassment and is afraid of immigrants, which is also nurtured by politicians, police and even media.

    We have to understand Henry’s legacy as a challenge not to be indifferent, defend ourselves and change society and us,” one of the organisers added.

    Zuzana Maďarová of the non-governmental organization Aspekt also called for an end to violence against women and children.

    We need a society that will not tolerate violence and will use all means possible to solve gender violence and prevent it,” Maďarová stressed.

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    “Smugglers are now using balikbayan boxes” – BoC Commissioner Lapeña

    June 19th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File photo) Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña Photo ©

    THE Bureau of Customs on Tuesday vowed to intensify its battle against smugglers, especially those who betray the implicit trust of the nation’s expatriates by using the balikbayan boxes in their nefarious activities.

    Noting that despite government warnings against smuggling, BoC Commission Isidro Lapeña said there are still those who disrespect and disregard Customs laws, rules and regulation, and worse they take advantage and abuse the use of balikbayan boxes.

    “Balikbayan boxes are sacred to our OFWs. I urge these unscrupulous importers not to use it to disguise their regulated and taxable importations,” Lapeña pleaded.

    Lapeña’s issued the plea after disclosing that the bureau foiled an attempt to smuggle via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and seized some PhP40 million worth of banned beauty products, skimming devices used in criminal activities and China made shoes using balikbayan boxes.

    The intercepted shipment comprised of 12 balikbayan boxes of beauty products, 15 boxes of containing pairs of expensive but China-made rubber shoes.

    Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Image ©

    Customs District III Collector Carmelita Talusan said that the 6,500 pieces of beauty products, which has an estimated value of PhP 38 million, came from Abu Dhabi and contain Goree Day and Night Whitening Cream, Goree Beauty Cream, Goree Lotion, soaps, make up kits and Glutathione products, all of which are banned in the country due to the dangers they posed to public health.

    The Philippine Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), in October 30, 2017, has released a public advisory prohibiting the use and distribution of Goree products, which were found toxic due to the presence of mercury in levels beyond the 1 parts per million limit set by the regulatory administration.

    At present, Customs authorities are coordinating with the FDA for the plans of action to further curb the importation of Goree products in the Philippine market.

    Furthermore, Lapeña said the BoC has it intercepted more than 1,110 skimming devices in NAIA’s three terminals in the last seven months.

    Moreover, Lapeña said the gadgets come in sets, mostly containing one-time password card (OTP), sim cards, bank cards, mobile phones, rubber stamps, ATM pins, and other Chinese-scribed documents. However, he added, there was no estimated value of the OTP and skimming devices.

    “These set of gadgets are used in committing cyber crimes and other bank frauds using online bank transactions. It can steal and clone the data which often results to money laundering by transferring money online thru bank to bank transactions,” Lapeña said.

    He also said that a total of 13 apprehensions have been recorded from December 16, 2017 to June 1, 2018 where passengers coming from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia are smuggling skimming devices.

    Image ©

    The Customs chief also said the seized 15 balikbayan boxes contain 111 pairs of original but China-made assorted rubber shoes were shipped from Italy and has an estimated market value of PhP7 million. It is consigned to Associated Freight Consolidations, the same consignee of Goree products.

    Lapeña said all of the seized items were discovered by the Customs examiners after it passed through x-ray machines. He added that the contraband will undergo seizure and forfeiture proceedings in accordance with Section 400, 1113, and 1117 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

    “Some of the seized goods will be destroyed especially the cosmetic products while others will be subjected for donation or auction,” Lapeña added.

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    A supposed victim of thievery at the NAIA learned a lesson or two from aviation cops.

    June 17th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File photo) NAIA Terminal 2 ©

    AN airplane passenger bound for Australia on Friday was detained by airport authorities for creating a ruckus at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport while accusing a security personnel of stealing his cellular phone, it was learned yesterday.

    Wilfredo Cabigao, a passenger of Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR221 bound for Brisbane, loudly complained that he lost his after passing at the initial security check of NAIA Terminal 2. He said that after his luggage underwent mandatory security check, his phone disappeared.

    Cabigao immediately and loudly accused the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) personnel manning the security area of stealing his phone causing alarm to other passengers who stopped and “rubber necked.” This prompted the NAIA Aviation police to respond and search the OTS personnel manning the security area and nearby areas for the missing phone but to no avail.

    The police then decided to ask Cabigao personally search his bag in front of them and voila, he found his phone.

    “Mr. Cabigao was subjected for investigation for Alarming Scandal as complained by the party of OTS. He was accompanied to the PNP office at South-wing departure,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said.

    Later, Cabigao, apparently realizing his mistake, apologized to the OTS staff for his being rude to them. He was then was released and allowed to continue with his journey, but not before being asked to “write a letter stating that he was wrong and that his cellphone was (found) inside his bag.”

    The MIAA management has long been advising air travelers to always watch out for their belongings while inside the terminals due to the heavy volume of passengers.

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    BI at the NAIA saved 3 potential victims of human trafficking syndicate by timely intervention

    June 15th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    IMMIGRATION agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday saved three potential victims of a human trafficking syndicate by preventing them to board a Saudi Arabia bound flight after they were found to be hired by a suspected illegal recruiter.

    A Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) of the immigration bureau led by Julius Caesar B. Feria II identified the would be victims as Naira M. Abataw, Junaina N. Amerol and Haina M. Kusain. They are bound to Jeddah via Dubai, where they are supposed to work as household helpers,

    Furthermore, the TCEU team leader disclosed that the three were in possession of valid Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC), employment contracts and Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) certification issued by a local recruiter when stopped at the immigration counter.

    Feria II revealed that the trio were made to undergo a secondary interview, where they were asked to present other proofs of identification to determine their identity and age. He added that Abataw and Kusain could not produce any other government-issued ID while Amerol was able to present a photo copy of her Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) birth certificate.

    Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division head Marc Red Mariñas said Abataw, Kusain and Amerol claimed to be 24, 27, and 23 years old, respectively but “their physical attributes suggest they are younger than their declared age.”

    The BI official added that the three passengers were first time travelers and have no prior experience in household work. Moreover, it was learned that they were also unaware how they secured their passports and their “jobs abroad.”

    Mariñas said the three were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking (IACAT) for proper action.

    As this developed, Immigration officers have recently barred at least 20 women posing as overseas Filipino workers from leaving the country due to inadequate travel documents.


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    Quick acting cops collared a thief prowling the NAIA

    June 7th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File Photo) NAIA Terminal 2 ©

    IN A bid to recoup his losses, a gambler on Wednesday stole a cellular phone from the charging station of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 domestic area, it was reported by the police yesterday.

    According to Jericho Jude Baldonado, 44, a resident of Makati City, he lost a lot of money due to his gambling so he decided to steal one of the phones being charged at the airport’s charging station to sell it afterwards. But a loser that he is, he also lost this criminal enterprise, proving once again that crime does not pay, as he was arrested by responding policemen and airport security guards following a brief chase.

    Marlon Fernandez Pancho told investigators he was surprised that someone grabbed his cellphone while being charged. He said he was waiting for his relatives when the incident happened, adding that he immediately shouted for help.

    As soon as his plea for help was heard, the police and airport security personnel were immediately on their toes running after the suspect who was cornered not far from where he committed his felony. The cellphone was recovered and returned to the victim.

    Pancho thanked airport policemen Michael Agarin, Christian Tanique, Manrico Ligas Gerardo Orga, Jr., and the Philippine National Police personnel – PO1s Aaron Tubilla Jr. and Aderly Salonga – who gave chase and arrested Baldonado.

    The suspect is now under the custody of the Airport Police Department for proper filing of case against him.

    Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal commended the policemen for the arrest of the snatcher. At the same time, he advised well-wishers and send off parties to be more alert about their belongings while at the airport.

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    Ancajas is back in PH after beating Sultan in California

    May 29th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Saturday’s junior bantamweight fight was the first world title bout between two Filipinos since 1925, when Pancho Villa defended the world flyweight title against Clever Sencio in Manila. Mikey Williams/Top Rank

    INTERNATIONAL Boxing Federation World Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas is back home after a fifth successful title defense this time against a fellow Filipino, Jonas Sultan, in Fresno, California.

    Ancajas, who has 20 knockouts out of 30 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie record, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 on Tuesday evening. He pocketed the US$120,000 championship prize, but half of it goes to his manager, trainor and his other boxing staff.

    “Hindi po lahat napanalunan kong pera mapupunta sa akin. May porsiyento po ang mga kasama ko. (Half of the prize goes to my manager and to the other staff),” the southpaw boxer said.

    The bout, which was held at the Save Mart Arena last Saturday, served as the main event to the Top Rank card.

    Ancajas beat Sultan in a unanimous decision. It was also the first all-Filipino world title clash in 93 years.

    Unfortunately, unlike the warm welcome he and Sultan received from the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles, there is no heart warming welcome for Ancajas, when he and his manager Joven Jimenez got out of the airport terminal where they took a metered taxi.

    (Read More:

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    PH BoC turns over to PDEA some PhP11 million worth of seized illegal drugs

    May 22nd, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Image ©

    THE Bureau of Customs on Tuesday has turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency some PhP11.87 million worth of seized methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu for proper disposition.

    According to BoC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, the shabu shipments were seized last month at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after they were uncovered during routine inspection, x-ray examination, canine sweeping and field tests of incoming cargoes by Customs examiners.

    NAIA Customs District III Collector Carmelita Talusan said one of the packages, which was intercepted last April 27, contained 2.031 kilograms of shabu and was consigned to a certain Joey Cuenca of Imus, Cavite.

    The other package, which was interdicted on April 23, contains 344.50 grams of shabu and was consigned to a certain Susano Trinidad of Cubao, Quezon City, Talusan added.

    “We are still training the Customs examiners and enforcers in NAIA to perfect the profiling techniques to safeguard parcels in post offices and shipments in warehouses from anti-social and prohibited goods,” Talusan also said.

    (File Photo) Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña Photo ©

    Meanwhile, Lapeña said both packages have fictitious consignees and delivery addresses, adding that the contraband came on board two different flights from California, USA and were declared as medicine cabinet and pillow, respectively.

    Lapeña said the attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into the country via mail is the reason why there is a constant alert for all incoming parcels, be they furniture or other merchandise.

    “We have intensified our anti-drug operations at the ports, and so we are able to apprehend drug shipments in March and April in NAIA alone,” Lapeña said.

    In March this year, BOC-NAIA intercepted a Canada bound parcel containing 42 tablets of Cyproterone Acetate and Ethinylestradiol. It also prevented the smuggling into the country of 33.06 grams of shabu and pouch of kush weeds. The contraband, which came from California, was concealed in a toy doll.

    The following month, the BOC-NAIA seized 962 pieces of Ecstacy tablets coming from Netherlands and 7,517.6 grams of shabu which came in five shipments from the US, and concealed in Lego toys, baby crib, car seat, pillow and medicine cabinet.

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    Filipino diplomats held in Kuwait return home

    May 18th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File Photo) The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 ©

    THREE Philippine Embassy employees who were allegedly involved in the controversial rescue of Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait came home Friday afternoon after being held in prison there for several days.

    Officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) refused to identify the three DFA personnel, who were immediately whisked to a waiting vehicle at the Terminal 1 ramp area after landing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    Around 10 DFA officials, including Presidential Adviser on OFWs Abdullah Mama-o, met the trio upon exiting the plane that brought them home.

    The trio were briefly imprisoned by the Kuwaiti government last month due to their involvement in the controversial DFA move to rescue the OFWs from their abusive employers without coordinating with the Kuwaiti government.

    The poorly executed rescue attempt became known to the Kuwaitis after it was recorded and posted in YouTube and later Facebook by a DFA personnel and a pro-Duterte blogger, in an apparent bid to gain propaganda points.

    The incident was deemed by the Kuwaitis an affront to their sovereignty and resulted in the near break off of diplomatic ties between the said Gulf state and the Philippines. But with great skill on the part of professional Filipino diplomats and labor representatives, the diplomatic ties between Kuwait and the Philippines was repaired and restored, and the Memorandum of Agreement on the Protection of OFW in the said country was signed.

    Meanwhile, knowledgeable sources at the country’s premier airport told Beyond Deadlines that the four Filipino drivers, who were also arrested in connection with the now scandalous rescue attempt, will also return home soon.

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    PAL to fly to San Vicente, Palawan?

    May 16th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Palawan town eyes 100,000 tourists as San Vicente Airport opens. Photo by Keith Anthony Fabro/Rappler

    THE San Vicente Airport in Palawan last week opened its runway for commercial flights making accessible to the public more tourist destinations in the island.

    Construction of the PhP298.7 million airport started in 2009. It was built to jump start tourism in this northwesterly town of Palawan as it is near the world-famous El Nido island. It opened to general aviation on June 22, 2017.

    As this developed, legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) revealed that it is considering flight services to San Vicente Airport.

    PAL Spkesperson Cielo Villaluna

    The airport is two hours away from the world-famous El Nido Island. It is strategically positioned making it an ideal gateway to the famous island,” according to PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna in her Facebook account. She added that PAL will soon make the appropriate announcement.

    El Nido, a municipality on Palawan island, is known for white-sand beaches, coral reefs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago, a group of islands with steep Karst cliffs.

    The PAL management recently came up with the adjusted flight frequency in support of the government’s decision to temporarily close or limit access to the world famous Boracay for urgent major environmental rehabilitation of the island.

    As part of the flight frequency program, the airline expanded flights to a number of other Philippine tourist and provincial destinations to help ensure the continued growth of domestic tourism.

    Also, it deployed commercial flights on routes between Manila and Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa in Palawan and Bacolod.

    As we re-direct our passenger market flows to these other key destinations, PAL anticipates that the additional flights will help increase demand and spur economic activity for the benefit of the travel and tourism communities in various regions of the country,” Villaluna said.

    PAL said it will continue to coordinate with the Department of Tourism to optimize the tourism generating value of any route calibrations and mitigate any adverse impact on both international and domestic tourism flows from the Kalibo and Caticlan airports cutbacks.

    Seen as the country’s First Flagship Enterprise Zone, the booming town of San Vicente, a first-class municipality, is home to the longest white beach in the Philippines, known as Long Beach, which boasts a stretch of 14 kilometers spanning to the coastline of four barangays.

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    Religious groups unite in an annual congregation

    May 13th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Cuneta Astrodome. Image ©

    FOUR religious groups joined hands in service to express love of God through prayers and singing the Gospel to encourage everyone to embrace the word of God.

    Dubbed as “May Nagmamahal Saýo” (There’s Someone Who Loves You), the event was held at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City Saturday.

    Hundreds of devotees from Verbo of God led by Rev. Gabriel Quebec, Pastor Arnel Cadelina of Faith in Jesus (Malayang Pilipino), both from Las Pinas, Rev. Bhoy Manlapaz of Jesus Christ Mission to All Nation from Bulacan, and the Pampanga-based Rev. Kyung Su Lee of Rainbow International Mission, attended the annual congregation.

    Quebec, whose daughter was a victim of child trafficking, said that there is hope even in the worst time of our life, just approach and seek out Lord Jesus Christ.

    Faith in Christ changes us,” he said adding that he found justice as far as in the United States against an American pedophile.

    The story of his quest for justice even saw print in The Manila Times on August 24, 2016. (Read More:

    As a Christian missionary, Korean Reverend Kyung stayed in the Philippines for more than 21 years.

    I was here for a world Christian mission and the commitment to serve God and the faithful in the country.”

    The event is in its third year. Its first annual congregation took in 2016.

    On their second year, Senator Manny Pacquiao graced the occasion, and as a guest speaker, he also encouraged people to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    This year’s event was attended by Pasay City Congresswoman Emy Calixto Rubiano, and Lee Ann Rubiano, and other Christian ministry members Edgar Macabeo, Leopoldo Fernando, Henson Chua, Fortunato Manahan, and Atty. Vincent “Jet” Maronilla.



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    Scarcity of immigration officers at NAIA causes long periods of queuing and flight delays

    May 3rd, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File Photo) Long lines at the NAIA’s immigration booths Photo ©

    THE current scarcity of officers manning the immigration lanes at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is not only causing travelers the discomfort of queuing for a long time but some flight delays too, according to the Manila International Airport Authority.

    The MIAA admitted that it cannot do anything about the long lines even as it noted that situation has now become a major source of complaints.

    The Bureau of Immigration should deploy more employees at every counter to abate the long lines of passengers,” an airport employee, who asked not to be identified, said adding that only a marginal number of the bureau’s workforce have been observed reporting for work lately, a situation some BI personnel said is due to problems in their wages.

    Some departing passengers noticed that only one immigration officer is at the counter when three or more officers are needed to provide full fast and efficient service. They also claimed that it took more than an hour before they were cleared and their passports stamped by an immigration officer.

    Passengers, at times, also blame local and foreign airlines operating at NAIA although they have no hand in the processing of the passengers’ travel documents.

    We provide full services to our client. We even provided comfort of every passenger, but the long queue is not our responsibility,” one airline official told this writer.

    Meanwhile, BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said the long queues at the airport is due to the “summer peak season passenger traffic” thus long lines will likely be common until June. She denied that the problem has something to do about the officer’s pay.

    It can be recalled that in early 2017, a similar immigration work slowdown at the NAIA due to unpaid wages has been reported.

    The problem persists until President Rodrigo Duterte intervened and allowed the BI again to put the Express Lane Fees (ELF) into a trust fund to be used as payment of salaries and overtime of its employees. The ELF was collected from foreigners who want to fast-track transactions at NAIA.

    As this developed, a MIAA official said the airport authority have already notified the BI about the situation at the NAIA and requested for additional personnel to ease the congestion at the airport’s immigration lanes.

    The BI assured the MIAA that “100 immigration personnel will be deployed at the country’s premier airport to ease the long lines, yet, we are still waiting for it,” said the unnamed MIAA official.

    Nevertheless, the MIAA official also said that they already started managing the long lines of people so as not to create congestion at the check-in hall where the airline counters are located.

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    PH customs bureau turns over PhP10 million worth of intercepted illegal drugs to PDEA

    April 27th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    Image ©

    THE Bureau of Customs on Friday turned over to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency the PhP10 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and kush weeds it intercepted and seized at the FEDEX warehouse near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    According to BoC District III Collector Carmelita Talusan, the 2,066 grams or 2.06 kilos of shabu and 127.60 grams of kush weeds were air mailed separately on different dates by different senders to different consignees. However, both packages came from California, USA.

    Talusan said the packages were consigned to a certain Savannah Valdez of General Trias, Cavite and Emmerson Cruz Medina of Quezon City, respectively. The package for the former arrived last March 28 to be followed by the package for the latter 21 days later.

    The contraband were concealed in two boxes and declared as toys and concealed in Lego sets. However, it yielded an unbranded and colorless crystalline substance when inspected by customs examiners, Talusan added.

    She also said both boxes underwent x-ray scanning and rigid inspection after no one has claimed it.

    (File Photo) Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña Photo ©

    Meanwhile, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña reminded airport’s Customs rank and file that it is not only to collect and hit the bureau’s revenue target but also “to intensify BoC’s campaign against the smuggling of illegal goods in the country.”

    Lapeña said shabu is usually produced by syndicates in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. But some syndicates in the United States are now manufacturing it also because its a “lucrative business.” He added that the country’s mailing system is now also being used by drug syndicates to smuggle contraband in the country.

    It will be recalled that last month, combined operatives of the PDEA and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Group intercepted a mailed package in a PhilPost Office in Pasay City near the NAIA containing hundreds of illegal party drugs worth PhP1.5 million and arrested its consignee. (Read More:


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    Cebu Pacific looking into claims its staff stole from a Balikbayan luggage

    April 17th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File Photo) A Cebu Pacific Air plane taking off Photo ©

    THE management of Cebu Pacific Air has ordered a thorough investigation of the pilferage allegations by a Balikbayan who claimed to have lost a number of valuable personal effects from her luggage after she flew in to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Hong Kong.

    In a press statement on Monday, the CEB said they are looking into the claims made by Leticia Maple, who came from London to Manila via a connecting flight to Hong Kong.

    Maple, who is married to a British national, alleged that her laptop, perfumes and chocolates were missing when she arrived at the NAIA. Moreover, she said airport and airline employees are responsible for the loss.

    However, the CEB noted that it has received a report from Hong Kong authorities that Maple retrieved her luggage upon arriving at Hong Kong airport just prior to checking in for her connecting flight 5J113 to Manila on Saturday, April 14.

    The CEB management, at the same time, said it asked the Hong Kong airport authorities for Maple’s check-in baggage weight report so it could compare it to baggage weigh-in report in Manila.

    Although the CEB has yet to issue a final weigh-in report, sources from NAIA said there is no weight discrepancy on Maple’s luggage, as it has the same weight of eight kilograms when she checked in at the Hong Kong CEB counter and checked out in Manila.

    CEB spokesperson Charo Logarta said that the airline is still conducting an investigation regarding the allegation of Maple.

    The CEB statement further said “we are coordinating with ground handlers at the Hong Kong International Airport to trace the handling of the passenger’s baggage from the time she arrived in Hong Kong.”

    Nevertheless, the CEB said that after Maple’s had checked in for flight 5J113 in Hong Kong, her baggage was placed inside a Unit Load Device (ULD) or baggage container and secured aboard the aircraft.

    CCTV security footage showed that the ULD arrived Manila intact, with the passenger’s baggage inside, CCTV footage further showed ground personnel loading the baggage on the carousel with the lock still in place,” the airline said.

    We are in touch with the passenger concerned and shall update her when more details are available,” it added.

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    Scalded OFW is finally home after four years of legal battle in KSA

    April 13th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    OFW Pahima Alagasi (right), who suffered serious burns when her employer’s mother allegedly poured boiling water on her back in 2014, receives her two months’ worth of salary from Saudi Arabian Deputy Interior Minister Nasser Al-Daood (center) at the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh. With them is Ambassador Adnan Alonto (left). DFA photo

    FINALLY after four years of trying to return to home, Pahima Alagasi, a 26-year old Filipina domestic helper, was repatriated on Friday from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she reportedly was scalded by her sadistic employer.

    Pahima, who arrived via Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR655, was accompanied by Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Adman Alonto. She was met at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by  ACT-OFW Party List Representative Anicieto Bertiz 3rd, Susan Ople of the Blas Ople Overseas Labor Office, and the representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

    According to Alonto in an interview with reporters, the Pikit, North Cotabato native thanked the Philippine government for helping in the resolution of her case. He added that Pahima was also so grateful to Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif and the government of Saudi Arabia for facilitating her exit from the Kingdom.

    Finally, after four years, Pahima will be able to embrace again her children whom she left behind in Mindanao more than four years ago,” Alonto said.

    However, Bertiz said, Pahima will first have to pay a courtesy call in Davao City this Saturday to President Rodrigo Duterte, who asked for her return when he met with Saudi Prince and Interior Minister Abdulaziz in Malacañang last March 19.

    It will be recalled that Pahima was only 22 years old and barely two months on the job when her employer allegedly poured boiling water on her scalding her back, neck and thighs forcing her to seek treatment in a hospital. She then run away and sought shelter in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

    She also filed a maltreatment complaint against her unnamed employer but the Saudi judge dismissed it after she allegedly failed to prove her accusation. In retaliation, the employer filed false accusation and absconding charges against Pahima which prevented her from returning home in the last four years.

    According to Pahima, she accidentally dropped the lid of a thermos while preparing coffee for her employer. Her irate employer then seized the thermos and poured its contents on her as she bent down to pick up the cap.

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    An octogenarian was hurt in an accident caused by a group of unmindful selfie takers at the NAIA

    April 8th, 2018

    By Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File photo) NAIA Terminal 1

    AN octogenarian woman was seriously hurt after accidentally being bumped by a group of selfie shot takers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    The 83-year old Juliana Lipan, a Quezon City resident, was attended to by airport doctors who administered first aid treatment before she was sent to the San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay City due to head contusions and severe backache.

    An Airport Police Department (APD) report shows that the accident happened last Wednesday at the waiting section of the Departure Area of NAIA’s Terminal 1 where Lipan and her family, and the members Oclos Michael Navarro kinsfolk were respectively sending off their relatives abroad.

    According to the APD report, Lipan was walking nearby when she was accidentally bumped from behind by a member of Navarro’s family causing her to hit her head in the metal door entrance as she fall to the ground.

    A Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) medical team led by Dr. Rowena Bernal responded to the scene and gave first aid to Lipan. It was then decided that Lipan should be brought to the hospital for further tests.

    For his part, Navarro expressed regret about the incident as he promised to shoulder Lipan’s hospital bill.

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    A sexagenarian was arrested at the PH’s NAIA for illegal gun possession

    April 7th, 2018

    Benjie Lim Vergara

    (File photo) NAIA Terminal 3 ©

    PHILIPPINE airport authorities on Thursday apprehended an elderly woman for illegal gun possession at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

    The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) media affairs division head Jess Martinez identified the elderly woman only as Grace Castro. He said a .38 caliber revolver was found in Castro’s shoulder bag when she tried to enter the terminal’s Gate 6.

    Records showed that Castro was initially prevented from entering the airport terminal after she refused to submit her bag to the scanning of the security x-ray machine.

    However, since Castro is adamant to enter the terminal, the screeners managed to oblige the sexagenarian to put her bag at the scanning machine.

    Upon scanning Castro’s shoulder bag, the duty screener noticed the firearm and asked her for the required gun documents (license and permit to carry) which she allegedly failed to produce.

    When members of the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group came to arrest Castro, she allegedly resisted and made a scene to draw attention of the other passengers.

    I am an agent working at Camp Crame,” she was quoted by the police authorities as shouting furiously.

    In the end, Castro was still brought by aviation policewomen to the airport security office for investigation. As of the posting of this news, the authorities are readying a criminal case against her.

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    PH deported to mainland China 78 suspected cyber-criminals

    April 4th, 2018

    By Benjie Vergara

    Lito Banayo. Image © Global Balita

    SEVENTY eight Chinese who were linked to cyber fraud activities by Taiwanese authorities were deported on Tuesday by the Philippine justice department to mainland China where they will be prosecuted.

    The Philippine justice department, in coordination with country’s law enforcement agencies and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), turned over the suspects to the Taiwan police authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

    According to the DOJ, the suspects were arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during simultaneous operations in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur and an exclusive subdivision in Las Piñas City in Metro Manila two months ago.

    The MECO, Taiwan’s de facto consular office in the Philippines, said “this is consistent (the arrests) with the Interpol Red Alert Notice issued in relation to the suspects.” It added that the suspects shall face trial highly-organized telecom extortion scheme in China (Taiwan) because the victims were all Chinese who reside there (Taiwan) where the evidence were also found.

    “It behooves us to join the international community in its effort to curtail cross border crimes and to help guarantee that the perpetrators are effectively prosecuted and meted punishment,” MECO Chairman Angelito T. Banayo said in a statement.

    “Likewise, this will send a strong message to criminal syndicates not to use the Philippines as a staging area for their illegal activities,” he added.

    According to MECO Information, Media and Special Projects Officer Enrique S. Beltran, the suspects allegedly misrepresented themselves as Chinese authorities posing as police, judges, or prosecutors, to shakedown businessmen and demand grease or protection money.

    Beltran said it is estimated that 100 Chinese businessmen and women are victimized each day since the group started operating early last year.

    The Chinese police authorities sought and received immediate assistance from the PNP in early November 2015 after more than 100 internet protocol addresses being used by the syndicate were traced here in the Philippines.

    Last January, the PNP Anti-Cyber Crime Group simultaneously arrested the suspects in separate operations.

    MECO officials said the syndicate had chosen the Philippine as its base of its operation for cyber-criminal activities due to internationally perceived weak enforcement and cyber-crime detection in the country. It noted that since most of the victims and evidence trail are in China, gang members cannot be prosecuted in the Philippines.

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    Japanese tourist lost money to thieving airport security personnel at the NAIA?

    March 31st, 2018

    By Benjie Vergara

    NAIA Terminal 3. Image ©

    HOLY Wednesday in the Philippines will be forever etched in the mind of 25-year old Yuya Sakata, a newly arrived Japanese tourist who lost cash to two suspected thieves who are members of the security office of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    According to Sakata, he just arrived from Sydney, Australia Wednesday afternoon on board a Cebu Pacific flight when he later decided to go outside the airport terminal to look for a smoking area.
    After smoking, he went back inside Terminal 3 as he was waiting for a connecting flight to Cebu City when, after the screening of his luggage, he was approached by a security personnel, later identified as Stephen Bartolo.

    Bartolo, according to Sakata, informed him about the discovery of something prohibited in his luggage. The same security personnel then conducted a rigid search on his bag and wallet containing AUD2,700.

    Sakata added that nothing illegal was found and he was allowed by Bartolo to proceed to departure check-in area where he decided to check his wallet and discovered that he lost AUD1,700 00. He then reported the incident to a security guard, Brady Saygo, as he believed that his money was stolen by the security personnel who accosted him.

    Saygo, a member of the Lanting Security Agency, accompanied Sakata to the Airport Police Department (APD) office where he filed a complaint.

    At the APD office, investigators immediately reviewed the NAIA closed-circuit television (CCTV) and found out that it was Bartolo who took out the money from Sakata’s wallet. Bartolo was immediately apprehended and upon interrogation, he admitted taking the money from Sakata’s wallet while he was conducting luggage search.

    At the same time, Bartolo returned AUD100 adding that he gave some money to an OTS intelligence aide, Demmie James Timtim.

    The APD said their investigators then took custody of Timtim and recovered AUD200 from him bringing to only AUD300 the total amount recovered and returned to the victim. The incident is still being investigated by the authorities.

    Meanwhile, MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal ordered the revocation of the airport access of the two security personnel as he placed their names in MIAA Stop List. He also ordered the filing of criminal against them before the Pasay Prosecutor’s Office.

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