19 security staff fired at MNL Airport; chief of security quits amid theft cases

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The chief of Manila International Airport’s (MNL) Office for Transportation Security (OTS) has handed in his resignation following a string of highly publicized passenger theft cases.

Local media reported that during the Philippine senate budget deliberations on September 26, 2023, House Speaker Martin Romualdez declared that he will block the OTS’ request of PHP 214 Billion ($3.76 Billion) for its 2024 budget unless its head, Maria O. Aplasca, quits.

During the senate deliberations, the Department of Transportation’s secretary Jaime Bautista revealed that a total of 19 screening officers have been fired from MNL airport over passenger theft cases. 

One of the theft incidents is the highly publicized September 8, 2023 case of an airport security staff caught on CCTV swallowing a wad of $300 notes taken from a passenger’s wallet.

The latest case, dating just September 25, 2023, is of another security staff seen on surveillance camera taking chocolates from a departing passenger’s bag.

In March 2023, airport officials said it will intensify its airport security measures after security officers were seen, on separate incidents, stealing cash and a watch from departing passengers. 

One of the measures it implemented was a “no pocket” policy on security staff uniforms, and installing more CCTV cameras in security screening stations.

Notoriously known for scams and stressful experiences, Manila airport is considered the third most stressful airport in Asia

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