Wednesday 25 November 2015

PHILIPPINES: Travelers To Philippines Warned Of Airport Scam

International travelers are being cautioned to keep a close eye on their bags and luggage while traveling through international airports in the Philippines because of a new scam.

Philippine and international media and social media have reported on the scam, in which which airport security workers victimize travelers by planting a bullet in a bag or luggage, to extort a fee from victims who don’t want to go through the legal hassle of defending themselves.

Travelers have responded, in part, by shrink-wrapping luggages and handbags in an attempt to keep themselves from falling victims of the scam.

With daily flights between Guam and Manila, Guam travelers are also encouraged to be aware of the scam.

The Guam, Northern Marianas and Hawaii chapter of an organization called U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance, has issued a statement on the issue.

Dr. Celia Lamkin, chairwoman of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance for Guam and Saipan, said travelers need to safeguard their bags.

Philippine Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz also sent a message to Filipinos working overseas who may be traveling to or from the country that vigilance is “an antidote to the incidents reported to be happening at the country’s airports.”

“I urge airline passengers, (overseas Filipino workers) particularly, to be alert, careful, and vigilant with regards their luggage. They should hold on to their luggage, or be very close, never away from these, while these are being checked, and report any suspicious activity or movement of airport personnel handling their luggage,” she said.

It is a huge embarrassment for the Philippines to be the talk of international travelers because of the scam, Lamkin said.

The Philippine president’s office has acknowledged, in a Nov. 4 press conference, that Filipino travelers have complained of the scam.

“We have citizens who have complaint of alleged extortion,” said Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte, in video recorded press conference.

Valte said Philippine authorities at the international airports and transportation and police departments have come up with a plan to tackle the problem.

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