Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Presidential action and complaint desk at NAIA sought amid 'laglag bala' allegations

A senator on Friday sought the creation of a presidential action and complaint desk serving as a “one-stop, on-the-spot troubleshooting center” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), amid rampant reports of extortion rackets there victimizing travelers and OFWs.

"The idea is to pool together all agencies which have something to do with OFWs and travel," Sen. Ralph Recto said in a statement. "Puwede mong tawagin ‘yang isang mini-national government center sa NAIA."

He said the Presidential Action Center (PACE) could establish a detachment or satellite office at NAIA and other international airports, adding the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and other government agencies should join the PACE-run airport kiosk.

"So that when an OFW, for example, cries that a bullet has been planted in his luggage, there is an office he can seek assistance from,” Recto said.

“Or kung may minor na papunta sana sa Hong Kong Disneyland pero nakalimutan ang clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, doon mismo matutulungan ng naka-duty na taga- DSWD,” he added.

“Kung nabiktima ka naman ng taxi na mabilis ang metro, doon mismo puwede kang mag-sampa ng reklamo,” Recto further said.

The "laglag bala" scheme involved the discreet planting of bullets by unscrupulous airport personnel to airline passengers' bags. When the passenger got arrested, they would be asked to fork over money in exchange for their freedom.

Recto said with 32 million travelers using the four NAIA terminals annually, “it is a large constituency which can neither be ignored nor denied of service.”     

“If airport travelers can no longer come to Malacañang, then Malacañang must go to them,” he said.  

Recto said such desk can serve as a “deterrent to the commission of scams and a reminder to render excellent service.”

As to the funding, Recto said it can be accommodated in the P2.8 billion proposed budget of the Office of the President for 2016 or  from the proposed P4 billion Contingent Fund.

“But why wait next year? It can be set up now using the funds for the current year. There’s also the income of the Manila International Airport Authority. Two years ago, it was already grossing P8.7 billion yearly, and net profit before tax of P3.9 billion,” he said. Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News

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