Tighter security up in NAIA after OFW baggage theft

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Highlights

  • Body cams, CCTVs aimed to be implemented by February
  • 14 out of 35 airlines affected by MIASCOR contract termination
  • MIAA appeals to passengers: Report to airlines, insure baggage

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 22) — The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) assured travelers on Monday that body cameras and 1,500 additional closed — circuit television sets (CCTVs) are among new security measures that will be put in place in the wake of a theft gone viral.

"As part of the mandate of the secretary, we were asked to buy... body cams, and we are also mandating the service provider and the guards manning these areas to have their own body cams," MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal told CNN Philippines' The Source.

Supervisors overseeing personnel on the ground are expected to wear body cameras that MIAA will initially purchase.

MIAA is also eyeing 1,500 additional CCTVs with clearer resolution and facial recognition, he added.

The CCTVs are expected to be bid out by the end of the month. The new measures should be in place by February.

Monreal said there are up to 700 CCTVs spread out in all four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The security measures will add to guidelines issued by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Friday. Other instructions from Tugade include banning pockets on uniforms, loose shoes, cell phone use, and jewelry use for personnel while at work.

 

Overseas worker Jovenil Dela Cruz posted a video of his damaged and empty baggage, which had gone missing after his flight home via Clark Airport. The theft resulted in the firing of six personnel from MIASCOR, the ground service provider in most of the country's major airports.

Related: Duterte wants termination of contract with airport service provider MIASCOR

MIASCOR's contract was not renewed. It was given 60 days to turn over operations, which will also be the grace period for affected airlines to look for other providers.

This development will have an impact on 14 out of 35 airlines operating in NAIA: Malaysian Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Air Hong Kong, Federal Express, United Airlines, Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Jeju Air, Qantas, and Cebu Pacific.

MIASCOR has since appealed the decision. Monreal said the fate of the service provider is up to the President.

Related: Airport service provider urges Duterte to reconsider contract termination

Appeal to passengers

Monreal appealed to passengers to avoid putting valuable items in their baggage when traveling. He also encouraged them to pay an excess valuation charge, as a safety net in case valuables get lost.

"If they do, please declare it to the airlines. There is a certain amount that they have to pay... para kung anuman ang mawala, ay parang insured ang kanilang bagahe [so if it gets lost, it will be like the items are insured]," said Monreal.

He also asked passengers to make sure they report grievances to airlines first. The MIAA steps in to call the attention of the airlines and help passengers follow up on their concerns.

"Kapag may [If there are] issues about the bags... the airline is the one accountable. It's a contract of care between the airline and passenger," said Monreal.