How to avoid falling prey to ‘laglag bala’ scheme

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How to avoid falling prey to ‘laglag bala’ scheme

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Benjie Oliva with Rep. Leni Robredo at the Tagbilaran Airport. Robredo was the guest of honor during the 119th birth anniversary of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia on Nov. 4. Contributed Photo
Benjie Oliva with Rep. Leni Robredo at the Tagbilaran Airport. Robredo was the guest of honor during the 119th birth anniversary of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia on Nov. 4. Contributed Photo

Wake-uppers:

Seen: Benjie Oliva on CPG: President Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) has been my inspiration in pursuing my career in government with utmost integrity, excellence and performance starting as a casual employee of the provincial government of Bohol to National Youth Commission (NYC) Commissioner and currently as Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Administrator. His virtues and brand of leadership has been my guide that honed me as a better public servant and a better Boholano. His principle and his being a nationalist has been my direction in d formulation of policies and development programs. How I wish I could follow his footsteps in politics.

Scene:  World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the world’s largest conservation organization, named lawyer Ingemar Macarine aka Pinoy Aquaman as one of its three environmental “heroes” this year for “pioneering solo channel swimming in the Philippines to promote marine conservation.”

Scene: Ramon Einstein Acuña on the ‘”no show” of  James Reid and Nadine Lustre  (JaDine) in Bohol: Inuulit ko pong humihingi ako ng kapatawaran sa Viva, sa Vantage International Bohol, kina James Reid at Nadine Lustre, sa mga taga suporta ng ‘JaDine’ at sa lahat ng taong naloko ko sa ginawa kong panlilinlang. Lahat ng bumili ng tikets para sa ‘big event’ ay bibigyan ko po ng refund.

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Scene:  Bohol police were able to execute 26 search warrants, nabbed 53 personalities, recovered two high powered firearms and seized 355 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of about P4.2 million in its “One-Time-Big-Time Anti-Criminality Campaign (OTBT),” a provincewide operations against drug personalities, syndicated criminal gangs and wanted criminals on Nov. 5-6. To capture 50 personalities was also the “gift” of police chiefs to PSSupt. Dennis Agustin who celebrated his 50th birthday on Nov. 5, said Supt. Nicomedes Olaivar, head of the provincial Public Safety Company.

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Bohol-Buhol at Artologist Gallery

The Artologist Gallery will present an art exhibit entitled “Bohol-Buhol” on Nov. 10.

Featured artists include Boggs Castro, Rhants Anunciado, Eric Catot, Edgar Cornito, Jhacky Curambao, Roi Ferre, Irish Glori Galon, Joey Labrador, Glenn Lumantao, Henri Cainglet, Sam Penaso, Rico Tompong, Jeff Sisican, Melbourne Aquino, Chrisylli ibaya, Daisy Daqs, Elvin Vitor, Gay Bernaldez, Geovanni Abing, Gladys Bojo, Glems Barte, Josefino Montano, Joselito Alipala, Joseph ingking, Lloyd Lusica, Lucell Larawan, Milagros Fullido, Polo Joeven, Sandra dela Serna, She Lee, Vida Tirol- de Juan and Vincent Omar Daydayan.

The artists are a vibrant mix of established and emerging artists who are natives of Bohol, some of whom are still based in their hometown and some based in Manila. Their works showcase the wealth of Boholano artistry spanning a healthy breadth of genres from realist works that stress the island’s natural wonders, to abstractions that have challenged the works of contemporary artists in the country and around the world.

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The Artologist Gallery is located at 81 Xavier St. Xavier residences Unit 203, Greenhills San Juan (across Xavier School).

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Bohol-Buhol  will run from Nov. 10, ( 6 p.m.) to  Nov. 20.

For details, contact 5460169/ 09178403585.

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There is no “laglag bala” in Tagbilaran Airport. Contributed Photo
There is no “laglag bala” in Tagbilaran Airport. Contributed Photo

The recent incidents of “laglag  bala” (bullet dropping) or “tanim bala” ( bullet planting) scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) is quite alarming.

Cynthia Velasquez, 52, sealed her luggage with a packaging tape at her home in Anda town before she went to Tagbilaran Airport.

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“This is 100 percent safe,” she said, gesturing toward her luggage, visibly secured by packaging tape on the outside.

“They are indiscriminate in choosing their victims,” said Velasquez, referring to the tanim-bala extortion ring. “Better safe than sorry,” she said.

But according to the PNP-Aviation Security Group, there is no reported “laglag-bala” incident in Tagbilaran Airport.

Tagbilaran City is the main gateway to the province.

 

Maria Glendale Ramos, Intel Officer III, Civil Aviation Security Bureau in Tagbilaran said that screener officers were also subject for a check-up before entering the airport.

“Our screeners undergo a pat down and secondary screening to make it sure they don’t bring anything,” said Ramos.

The “no touch policy” at the Tagbilaran Airport was also strengthened to prevent such incident. Screeners are not allowed to handle or touch baggage to prevent any incident of so-called planting of contraband or other illegal items on passengers’ belongings.

Aside from these, Ramos said that lists of prohibited items are posted inside and outside the airport to warn passengers.

Closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) were installed in departure and arrival areas, airport lounges, screening areas, and other key places in the passengers terminal, according to Ramos.

Ramos said if anything suspicious appears on the X-ray machine, police and a witness would be called and the passenger would be the one to open his or her bag for checking.

If a bullet, or any banned substance, is found, a police officer would conduct an investigation and determine probable cause to file a case.

However, she said that although there were no reported incidents of “laglag bala” at Tagbilaran Airport, but there were cases of passengers found with bullets.

“Passenger carrying a bullet is not a new case,” she said.

She said, however, most of these bullets were amulets or anting-anting. “Many people believed that a bullet can be an amulet, that it has the power to protect its owner from danger or harm,” she said.

In 2012, a passenger was arrested for carrying bullets at the Tagbilaran Airport.  Seven live cartridges were found neatly packed and kept in the passenger’s bag when screening officers found it on x-tray. The passenger could not offer a satisfactory explanation or the necessary documents for carrying the bullets. Passenger was immediately apprehended. A case was filed against the passenger.

Carrying ammunition on a plane is prohibited by law.

The incidence of bullets being “planted” in the luggage of travelers is very scary and I am sure, you don’t want to happen to you.

Here are five tips to avoid the tanim-bala racket: keep a close eye on luggage and never allow strangers to handle these; close all zippers, pockets of luggage and seal these; keep an eye on the luggage as it passes through X-ray machines and metal detectors; quickly retrieve bags in the X-ray machines; and never accept luggage from strangers.

Do not accept packages (padala/pasalubong) from anyone. If you accept any padala/pasalubong, check thoroughly its content even if it came from your relative and friends.

In a Facebook post, the Philippine Expats/OFW Blog Awards gave four tips on what to do when an airport personnel accused a traveller of having a bullet in his or her luggage.

  1. Don’t agree to have your baggage opened. Ask for the airport police or a relative who can immediately call a lawyer for you. Don’t also agree when airport personnel ask you to open the luggage yourself.
  2. When airport police are present, ask them to open the bag and retrieve the bullet. If the bullet found in the luggage is not really yours, it won’t have your fingerprint.
  3. After the bullet is retrieved by authorities, ask them to do a fingerprint test.
  4. If the result shows that no traces of your fingerprints were found in the bullet then you can file a case against the airport personnel including damages for lost time and inconvenience.

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Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at leoudtohan@yahoo.com, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

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