The Philippines’ reputation with the international community has suffered yet another blow. The news that security personnel at the Manila international airport have been putting bullets in the luggage of travellers in order to extort them has made it to international news. The incompetence of the Philippine government under the leadership of President Benigno Simeon Aquino has been exposed once again.Authorities can’t give assurance that the culprits behind the criminal activities have been caught and are under arrest. Instead, the office of the President has downplayed the criminal activity by saying that the “incidents are only few”. That statement also proves that the incumbent leader is insensitive to and uncaring about the plight of the affected people especially the overseas contract workers who are scared they will be targeted when they visit the country.
The sad part is, this operation targets anyone, even weary elderly women. This is an indication that those running the syndicate are behaving like dumb and dumber. If they had any sense at all, they would choose their victims wisely – people who actually look like terrorists and not someone who looks like the average grandma. Frankly, a terrorist can look like anyone but a real terrorist would not be stupid enough to carry a single bullet or two without the proper gun to load it with. And if the syndicates were smart, they would use different illegal items to plant inside the unsuspecting passengers and not stick with using bullets. Goes to show that the members of the syndicate have access to a supply of ammunition.
Yes, the syndicate appears to be getting desperate for money. In a news report, the wife of a deceased former member of the syndicate has revealed that this extortion racket has been going on for 20 years but it’s only lately that those involved have become brazen. Someone said that perhaps their brazenness has something to do with the “ber” months. It’s almost Christmas so they could be running out of time to study their “random” victims well enough to pass the likely “suspect” test.
It seems the members of the syndicate could also have become bolder under the BS Aquino government because they see that the current government is weak. They also know that BS Aquino will not do anything drastic because the General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), retired Brig. General Jose Angel Honrado, is related to the President and transport Secretary Jun Abaya, who was instructed to “probe” the tanim bala or bullet planting racket is also a friend of BS Aquino. We already know what’s going to happen next: the case will be swept under the carpet. The perpetrators will probably get transferred quietly somewhere and not even receive a slap on the wrist.
What’s also quite baffling are the attitudes of BS Aquino’s most rabid supporters Leah Navarro and Cynthia Patag. Despite the shocking events, they are pointing to the President’s opposition and calling the incidents as mere demolition jobs against BS Aquino. They seem to be insinuating that the scammers and victims are mere actors hired to help make BS Aquino look bad. Some were outraged at Navarro’s and Patag’s behavior because instead of uniting with the people to demand action from the government, they were quick to come to its defense even in the absence of the result of the investigation. No wonder Philippine society has remained divided. Filipinos like Navarro and Patag who have strong followings keep spewing irrational views that do not help the Philippines reach its potential.
The BS Aquino government is making the lives of travellers to the Philippines more hellish than it already is. Not only do travellers to the Philippines have to bear with the world’s worst airport, they also have to contend with a fear of being extorted for money or being locked-up for carrying illegal items that they didn’t pack themselves.
It looks like Filipinos will have to protect themselves from their government because it cannot be trusted to protect them. The situation is going from bad to worse and this is all because criminals know that the country’s current leader is hopeless and useless in stopping them.
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