Monday, November 16, 2015

Bataoil delivers Privilege Speech Against “Laglag-Bala sa NAIA”

Made ocular inspection at NAIA Terminal 3 last November 9

                     By MELVIN TIANGSON SAMSON
QUEZON CITY -  Pangasinan’s 2nd District Representative Leopoldo N.  Bataoil delivered a privileged speech in the House of Representatives here, upon resumption recently of sessions of the August Chamber against the “laglag-bala or tanim-bala sa NAIA” (bullet planting in passengers’ luggage), an extortion scam at the Philippine international airport terminals by unscrupulous security officers there.
Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil

These criminal acts sow fear to foreign and local tourists, and Filipino travelers that include the modern-day heroes’ overseas foreign workers (OFWs).

Bataoil along with fellow former police-military officers who are now legislators made an ocular inspection last November 9  at the NAIA Terminal 3 to observe and analyze the security procedures and measures at the airport that may help him and his fellow lawmakers in crafting laws that will correct the ineptitude and complacency of airport authorities as well as the systems in place at present which destroy the good image of Philippines as well as the “Tuwid na Daan” (Straight/Righteous Path) government administration of President Aquino.

Here Bataoil’s Privilege Speech last November 3 at the House of Representatives’ Plenary Session:

The infamy of the Laglag Bala Scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is now spreading across the world. Today's regional news in Europe, in the United States, and in Asia Pacific Countries include the phrases “Beware, Bullet Scam, in Philippine Airports.” The global embarrassment now cannot be described by mere words. The sense of embarrassment is now in the hearts and minds of the 100 Million Filipinos across the world. The sense of fear also consumes the minds of the thousands of foreigners and Filipinos entering our airports every day. As the Representatives of the Filipino people and as leaders in the Philippine Government, it is our solemn duty now, in perfect timing with the resumption of the Session of the Philippine Congress, to stand here in the podiums to tackle this Laglag Bala Scam which is pulling down our country down to the gutters and away from tourists and investors.

Last September 17, a 21-year old American Missionary named Michael White was detained briefly for having a bullet in his luggage. He accused the NAIA security personnel of trying to extort from him P30,000 to let go of the bullet incident. He did not pay because he knows that bullet was planted. He was detained and was able to go free after posting a P40,000 bail. Instead of being able to freely do his religious service to the Filipino People, a criminal case regarding a single bullet is now pending against him.

Last September 18, a Filipino Balikbayan named Rhed Austria De Guzman said she was forced to pay P500 each to two security personnel of NAIA Terminal 2 after two bullets were found in her baggage. No such bullets were detected when she was screened for departure from the Los Angeles International Airport. She decided to pay after she was threatened that her crime of having bullets will be included in her travel records.

Last October 14, the Philippines sent the Los Cantantes de Manila Choir to compete in the Busan Choir Festival in South Korea. One of the choir members, a 19-year old girl, was detained by airport security personnel for having a bullet and was said to be traumatized by the incident and was demoralized for not being able to join her group on their flight.

Last October 25, a 56-year old OFW, Aling Gloria Ortinez from the Ilocos Region, was detained after a carbine bullet was found in her bag. She has been traveling between the Philippines and Hong Kong for almost 30 years already and this is the first time she had a criminal case in her life and said she was very surprised because she has not been able to touch a gun or bullets all throughout her life. She said she can't imagine why she would bring a bullet to Hong Kong when she's already very familiar with the tough regulations of the Hong Kong Airport.

Last weekend, a senior citizen named Nimfa Fontamillas was stopped at the airport for having a bullet in the side-pocket of her bag. She missed her flight to Singapore where she was scheduled to watch her 11-year old grandson play soccer representing the Philippines. The 65-year old was demoralized and traumatized by this scam.

​As a Lawmaker, I am very aware of the provisions of Republic Act 10591, or the ‘Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act’. Possession of bullets of even parts of firearms can land you with a six to eight year term in prison.

​As a Police General, I am angered on these issues because the profiles of those arrested are clearly far from the profiles of criminals and syndicate members.

​As a patriotic Lingkod Ng Bayan, I strongly condemn these incidents because clearly it is operated by unscrupulous employees of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Their modus operandi is bringing the name of former Senator Ninoy Aquino to bad light, is sowing fear in the minds of foreign and local travelers, is destroying the Tuwid Na Daan efforts of our National Government, and is causing so much embarrassment to the Philippine Republic and to our one hundred million kababayans.

​This scandal puts our country in the spot light, especially now that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting is going to be held in our country this month and they will be utilizing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as their main gateway to our country. They're cautious now and they're warning their fellow foreigners of the infamous NAIA, because they'll probably be scammed there by Filipinos.

​We are kindly recognized as the most hospitable people on the planet. We always greet our visitors with a smile and we offer them whatever we have. We lead them to beautiful tourist spots, so that they, too, may appreciate the natural beauty endowed to these 7,107 islands. We bid them farewell and pray for their safety as they go back to their own places, sharing with them souvenirs that will mark their wonderful trip to the Philippines. We are on our way to becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and one of the promising investment hubs in Asia, but incidents like these put off the credibility of our country in the eyes of many foreign observers. It will be a shame for many international dignitaries, including several foreign heads of state and heads of government, to see prevailing incidents of ‘laglag-bala’ scams here in our country.

​Furthermore, ‘laglag-bala’ incidents induce mass hysteria among many travelers, fearing for the safety of their own luggage. Yung mga papunta pong airports, binabalot na ng plastic ang mga bagahe para maiwasang mailusot ang mga bala sa mga gamit nila. ‘Yung iba naman naglalagay na ng notes sa bag at luggages para makiusap at magmakaawa na huwag silang idamay sa paninikil na ito. Nakakahiya tayo ngayon!

​It is also worthy to note that the incidences of ‘laglag-bala’ this year increased as the Christmas season approaches. Less than a hundred days before Christmas, news articles and reports about this extortion scheme ballooned, whereas before, these are simply isolated incidences. It is saddening to infer that the entire motivation of accused personnel in this scheme is the material gains of money to use for purposes like food, education, healthcare, and housing of their families. It is infuriating to note, however, that these airport personnel have the gall to resort to extremely illegal and downgrading ways just to supplement their income. Where is GM Jose Angel Honrado, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager, in the middle of all of this mass hysteria?

​Mr. Speaker, Dearest Members of the Philippine Congress, many foreigners and Filipinos arriving at our airports are now using big cellophanes, plastics, and masking tapes that will cover their entire bags and luggages. They now see the Government Officials and Employees in that agency as crooks and criminals preying on them. Foreign and local Tourists, Business Investors, the rising number of balikbayans and OFWs coming home this incoming Christmas Period are now terrified at our airports because they know this Laglag Bala Scam will grow stronger this season as the corrupt employees would want to scam more and extort more money in time for Christmas. This huge embarrassment, inclination of government employees to organize themselves as criminals, this lack of ethics and discipline from them, and the prevailing utilization of our government facilities as cash cows for these unscrupulous airport personnel must end now. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow, but NOW. Let's act now to end this.

​I urge all Airport Employees to contact my office here in Congress and personally inform me of the activities of your unscrupulous colleagues, if you don't, you will be seeing the Filipino People branding your entire organization, even the remaining innocent and hard-working airport employees like you, as criminals. My long-time advocacy as a Congressman and as a General, is for Government Employees to become true “Lingkod Ng Bayan” (Public Servant)  who will contribute to nation-building. I also urge my colleagues here to conduct a formal congressional hearing on this airport scam and think of ways to quickly resolve these issues. We could make sure that airport employees also go through metal detectors when going to work. We also need to orient our airport personnel on how to become Model Filipinos because they are our country's front-liners to foreigners, investors, and tourists. But most of all, we should now penalize to the fullest extent of the law those people who have already exploited the victims of the ‘laglag-bala’ (planting of bullet)  scam and we should fire the incompetent leaders who allowed all of these scams to happen under their watch.

Thank you Mr. Speaker. Thank you Fellow Members of the Philippine Congress.

              Bataoil, continues to advocate good governance and hates any form of abuse by any government official or employee which he considers as a form of disservice to the people, wherein all government authority emanates from them as stipulated and enshrined in the Philipppine Constitution with the democratic-republican form of the government. 

Bataoil’s slogan,  Lingkod Ng Bayan (LNB) which are also his first, middle and surname initials,  strongly implies clean, honest and timely service to his constituents as well as to his province mates in Pangasinan even to  his fellow Filipinos, be it here in our homeland or elsewhere abroad"

1 comment:

  1. SANA,,,,,HINDI MAKALUSOT ANG MGA TERORRISTA!!!kahit cla amoybala,,,,,,,,