The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), intercepted a total of 1,880 prohibited items from airport passengers across the country for the month of March alone.
Some of the seized items include live bullets, “non-live” bullets kept as amulets, as well as shell casings taken as souvenirs from firing ranges, the OTS said in a statement Friday, April 23,.
“Since 2016, bullets kept as amulets or souvenirs by passengers are simply confiscated and recorded. The passenger is then allowed to continue with the flight without any undue delay,” it explained.
The majority of the intercepted items are composed of lighters, liquid items in containers of more than 100 milliliters, air guns, knives, scissors, workers’ tools, cutters, and other similar sharp and pointed objects. Records from the OTS also showed that Pagadian Airport reported the highest number of intercepted restricted items with 644 (from 31 incidents), followed by Tacloban Airport with 399 (from 24 incidents).
Meanwhile, OTS Administrator, Undersecretary Raul L. Del Rosario lauded the vigilance of the Security Screening Officers (SSOs) who have been acting as the airports’ frontliners amid the pandemic.
Del Rosario said additional security screening equipment purchased in past months have also helped the agency in ensuring the safety of the people.
“Magmula noong pandemic, siniguro rin natin ‘yung health and safety ng mga pasahero at pati na ‘yung aming mga empleyado (Since the start of the pandemic, we have ensured the health and safety of passengers as well as our employees),” Del Rosario said, adding that they have also issued a policy on Modified Security Screening.
“Effectively, na-minimize natin yung physical contact ng mga tao through the use of advanced security screening technologies gaya ng full-body scanner at handheld metal detectors (We have effectively minimized physical contact through the use of advanced security screening technologies such as full-body scanners and handheld metal detectors),” he added.