“PLANTING BULLETS” Â or “Laglag Bala” or “Tanim Bala” Â is another method panned by Filipino criminal minds that severely affect the Â OFWs, the tourist business and the traveling Filipino community.
Talk about shooting ourselves on the foot. this is another case in point. It is not enough that the Sulu and its Mindanao neighborhood Â have been assigned negative “travel advisory ” by nations; here comes another form of criminality-for -extortion that has reached the respected media portals of Fox News, the British Broadcasting Corporation , the Australian Â Sydney Morning Herals and a Japanese media outfit.
The focus is on an apparent “syndicate” in connivance with airport personnel that maliciously slip a bullet or two into an Â unknowing passengers’ luggage Â and even those of mere airport visitors themselves.The crime carries with it a severe 6 to 12 year imprisonment Â in Violation of Republic Act 10591 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Law on Arms and Ammunition.
Because the poor victim has a flight to catch, a waiting job and other trying commitments, he is forced to fork out something like P30,000 to evade the inconvenience of detention .
Repeat these over 1,500 times which is the number of “laglag bala” victims for 2015- and you can discern a pattern, a wholesale Â study in malice and a dreadful sense of impunity because it has not stopped Â to happen even as we write.
Idiotic government statements like that the crime incident number of Â 1,500 is just Â a miniscule percentage to the 32.4 million travelers year to date in the country is an assinine a comment as “traffic in EDSA will not kill you”.
These are cases where the saying is not true that “what does not kill you will make you stronger”.
Does government think these “isolated cases” will enthuse more tourists, OFWS and businessmen to come to the Philippines, seriously now , idiotic government bureaucrats?
Even the United Nations Organization cautioned its staff to have an eagle-eyeballing of their luggage when coming to the Philippines. In’t this a frigging shame?
Sure, there were other offenders Â who were fanatics of the superstitious Â kind and kept them as their “amulets” to make them survive the harsh realities in the nation and others came from firing ranges where their “playing chips” are Â the bullets which can come into their luggage -without any thought or malice.
Missionaries, house helpers, businesswomen, Â even visitors in the airport comprised the recent profile of the victims relayed by current media.
Now there are reports that the “bullet paranoia” has affected the domestic airports as well as scores were seen having their Â backpacks and baggage covered by plastic tapes.
Maybe everyone else in government is visiting the barangay captains nationwide these days Â as they prepare for the presidential election on May 7, 2016 that its response to the crisis can be described as anemic.
After 1,500 victims have been traumatized and cursed the very entrance to the nation (airport), they have recommended (just now) more CCTVs, “no touch policy of baggages without the owners’ presence, more sniff dogs Â and reorganization of the staff that the Airport Inspection Office.
The last one has more traction in meaning to us – but wait a minute- what if we replace one crook with another- same Â dog with a different collar?
The cocksure Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to let the perpetrators eat “live bullets” if caught. That is the best suggestion we have heard so far,
Meantime another spin master who wants to impress LP presidential bet Mar Roxas said -the phenomenon was meant to discredit his candidacy in 2016. Â But this has been happening since January of 2015- the spin master has also thus Â accused the operators as clairvoyants as well Â since they must have known since then that Roxas will be the official candidate of the LP.
We sympathize with Mar Roxas- and sir, fire that creature who has done you a disservice.
The law , of course, is the law. But sometimes, with the regularity that the bullet has been used as an instrument to oppress our hapless travelers-maybe for now Congress can re-enact an bill to somehow “freeze” or remodify the law- and be truer to its spirit than Â to its letter.
We are neither lawyers nor congressmen and we do not know how the modification of the law can be dome in the meantime. We are , of couse, aware that one single Â bullet inside a plane can start a conflagration or Â be to kill a pilot and hurtle the entire plane into the Pacific ocean or China Sea.
But there’s one other thing that made us pause as we passed through the JFK airport in New York last Sunday. Lo and behold, under deep scrutiny of brawny guards was a a lone machine- dispensing plastic tapes to cover luggages Â of travelers -and at what price?
A princely sum of US$15 per luggage or aboutP600 per piece.
Now how many people travel every day and estimate how much the operators behind that plastic machine would make in just a single day?
What we may be seeing is perhaps more than just “extortion” at the airports. It could be a legitimized “extortion” when people -scared of the implications- will not longer travel without their luggages -plastic-taped at the airports.
Will government run the operation and award the plastic dispenser operation to its favorite contractor as it always does?
It Â may NOT be as simple as we think.. But a Â far bigger Grand Larceny imposed on a travelling public.
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