RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION ON THE ALLEGED “TANIM BALA” AT NAIA TERMINAL 3
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) would like to share to the public the result of the investigation on the alleged “tanim bala” incident at the NAIA Terminal 3 last 15 June 2018, which also went viral on social media.
Prior to check in, passenger Kristine Bumanlag Moran, along with her mother and daughter, passed through initial security screening at Gate 2. Ms. Bumanlag’s brown bag was subjected to baggage search after the X-ray operator observed an image of an ammunition.
Note that at this point, the bag was still wrapped in plastic.
The operator sought the assistance of a baggage inspector and a police personnel to validate the image. A picture was taken of the said image for preservation.
After completing the procedural aspects of screening, Ms. Bumanglag removed the clear plastic wrap of the bag in question. A search was conducted in the presence of Ms. Bumanlag, and a video was taken by a screening personnel to allay fears of a “tanim bala” scheme.
The inspection resulted in the recovery of one piece of live ammunition for caliber 9mm. Ms. Bumanlag was informed of this, and was told that the item will be confiscated. Ms. Bumanlag was also assured by the screening personnel that after documentation, she and her companions will be allowed to board their flight bound for Zamboanga.
Unfortunately, even after these assurances, Ms. Bumanlag created a scene and uttered foul allegations to the airport personnel, which she also posted on Facebook.
The DOTr-MIAA firmly maintains that there was no irregularity on the actions of screening personnel, who simply strictly followed standard operating procedures. What happened to Ms. Bumanlag has happened several times before, wherein ammunition would be found on passengers’ bags and belongings. Such as the case of Ms. Bumanlag, the items were confiscated and the incidents were documented. After which, passengers were allowed to board their flight.
Research also found that Ms. Bumanlag’s father is a retired Marine, while his brother is with the Philippine National Police.
Note that since the Duterte administration took over, not a single passenger has missed a flight due to a piece of ammunition. Not a single passenger was asked to pay any amount to anyone, which is what the “tanim bala” scheme is all about.
Finding ammunition, or other prohibited items, is a fairly common incident during baggage screening. Standard procedures have been put in place, in order to ensure that passengers will not be subjected to unnecessary hassle.
We ask the public to refrain from making assumptions as investigations are being conducted. Let us also bear in mind that there are airport personnel —- hard working Filipino workers like the rest of us —- whose livelihood, name, and dignity are put to question because of unfair allegations.