Press Release
October 30, 2015

Cayetano to airport officials: catch "tanim bala" syndicate in 48 hours or resign
Calls for probe on alleged extortion scam

"The government should not hassle the people they should protect!"

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said this as he expressed outrage over another reported extortion attempt by airport personnel employing the "tanim bala" scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on an unsuspecting Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).

Cayetano has called for an immediate punitive action against all those who are behind the continuing extortion activities. He also plans to file a resolution to conduct a probe on all other related concerns of OFWs and travelers at the country's airports.

"Kung gusto natin ng tunay na pagbabago, kailangan natin ng matapang na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon. Dapat pabilisin ang imbestigasyon sa 'tanim bala' para ang matitinong empleyado ay hindi na madamay sa kalokohan ng iilang abusadong tauhan," he declared.

"If airport officials cannot catch the culprits and put them in jail within 48 hours, then the best call is for them to resign from their posts," he added. The senator cited a recent report that an OFW from Hong Kong was arrested and prevented by the police from leaving the country because security staff allegedly found a bullet in her unlocked carry-on bag when it went through the X-ray machine at the NAIA Terminal 2.

Cayetano for his part criticized airport officials for seeking the immediate inquest of the victim instead of launching a comprehensive investigation on the obvious attempt to harass the OFW. He also decried their lack of concern over the series of reported extortion attempts through "tanim bala" in their respective jurisdictions.

"This is an unacceptable conduct towards an OFW who has no police record and is fully aware of restrictions for air travel. Authorities should exercise zero tolerance over these harassment cases. It's bad enough that our OFWs had to put up with unwarranted policies like the random inspection of their balikbayan boxes," Cayetano intoned.

Meanwhile, to prevent such incidents from happening again, Cayetano pushed for the drastic improvement of security and surveillance systems in the country's airports, to increase authorities' ability to catch criminals and protect the innocent.

"Now is the time for immediate action and change. There's a need for us to improve our CCTV surveillance in our airports. Any charge against a person for having a bullet in his or her possession should always be supported by uninterrupted CCTV footage," he said.

The senator expressed the urgent need to replace the country's 20-year-old outdated analog cameras with new IP (Internet Protocol) surveillance videos, which have clearer images, expanded light capabilities, and greater scalability and ease of use. Major cities in the ASEAN region, including Bangkong and Jakarta, already employed this kind of technology. As such, the Philippines should follow suit, he asserted.

Cayetano also suggested that airport terminals in the country should have rotating supervisors so as to reduce the time and the opportunity for theft and other extortion activities among airport personnel.

News Latest News Feed