Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Malacañang allays fears of OFWs on ‘laglag bala’ scheme

Malacañang on Friday assured overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that they have nothing to worry about the supposed “laglag bala” extortion racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the scheme, wherein bullets are supposedly discreetly planted in airline passengers’ bags is already being investigated by authorities.

But Coloma also stressed that it is the government’s duty to ensure the safety and security of all airline passengers at the NAIA and other airports.

“Pangunahing layunin ng pamahalaan ay tiyakin 'yung kaligtasan at kapakanan ng lahat ng mga naglalakbay na gumagamit ng ating paliparan at iba pang daungan,” said Coloma.

“Kaya ilagay natin sa tamang perspektibo, libu-libong mga Pilipino at mga dayuhan ang dumadaan sa ating international airport at mainam naman ang daloy ng tao sa ating mga paliparan. Sa kabila 'non ay iniimbestiga at sinisiyasat ang mga pangyayaring ito,” he added.

Recently, 56-year-old OFW Gloria Ortinez was arrested for allegedly carrying a bullet inside her hand-carry bag.

Ortinez, who has been working as a domestic helper for two decades, was apprehended before boarding her flight to Hong Kong on Oct. 25. She has denied the allegation, saying the bullet did not belong to her.

Although the Pasay City Prosecutors Office has ordered Ortinez’s release, she now faces the danger of losing her job in Hong Kong after the incident.

Coloma said there are public assistance desks that can help OFWs and other airline passengers regarding their concerns, including the so-called laglag-bala scheme.

Senator Ralph Recto has proposed the creation of a presidential action and complaint desk serving as a “one-stop, on-the-spot troubleshooting center.”

“Ang buong pananaw, ang buong kaisipan ng lahat ng mga empleyado ng gobyerno ay upang maglingkod at magbigay ng tulong sa mga gumagamit ng ating mga paliparan. Kung mayroong nais ipanukala ang ating mga mambabatas, hihintayin natin ang kanilang mga kongkretong panukala,” said Coloma.  —KBK, GMA News

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