‘Need or greed’: Lea Salonga wonders why some airport staff steal from travelers
Lea Salonga pondered on the motivation behind those airport baggage handlers who steal from travelers — is it because they are in great need or is it because they are just greedy?
Salonga lamented the theft that happened to theater actress Sheila P. Francisco in a now-deleted Facebook post last Friday, Dec. 14. Apparently, Francisco arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on the same day when she noticed that her luggage had no lock when it came out of the carousel, according to Francisco’s post which has also been deleted by her, and previously shared by Salonga. Francisco then discovered that her pasalubong for her sisters were stolen, for which she blamed the baggage handlers.
“Who else has this happened to, and whose head/s should be figuratively displayed on a spike? God,” wrote Salonga. “One minute it’s bullets, the next it’s theft. To say that I’m losing faith is an understatement.”
NAIA made headlines in international news for an alleged bullet-planting scam commonly referred to as “laglag bala” (drop bullet) and “tanim bala” (plant bullet) in 2015. The airport security personnel allegedly planted bullets in the baggage of passengers to extort money from them.
“So, what I wanna know is what on earth is it that makes the baggage handler open the luggage and steal what’s inside?” Salonga stated, using the hashtag “#NeedOrGreed.”
“I wonder if it’s out of need, deplorable salary so they have no choice (never mind if they get caught and fired), or ‘just because they can,'” she added. “And, how to determine which suitcase to open. Just wondering.”
Salonga’s friend, artist Maia Villapañe messaged the Facebook page of NAIA to report the incident as per her comment in Salonga’s post. NAIA replied, saying they will address the matter: “Hi Maia we will bring this concern to respective departments that will [address] this incident rest assured to put an action on this matter.”
Last March, the Department of Transportation maintained that it will follow the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte not to renew the contract of Miascor Aviation Services with the Manila International Airport Authority beyond April 2018. The decision was made following the case of luggage theft by six Miascor employees in Pampanga’s Clark International Airport in December 2017. JB