We’ve always thought that OFW parents should be welcomed with parades, awards and parties for all their hard work and sacrifice. Instead, they’re getting bullets dropped into their bags at the airport.
NAIA Bullet Scam
In the latest horrifying modus exposed on social media, passengers at The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are finding bullets in their bags after they go through X-ray baggage checks.
Once they’ve been flagged, airport personnel extort money from the passengers, asking for anything from Php500 to Php30,000!
This is the ‘laglag bala’ or bullet scam. Some reports, though, say that this has been around for decades.
While policemen and airport personnel have been suspended pending investigation of the incident, new reports crop up every week.
With December just around the corner and most OFW parents and families coming home and going on trips, protecting your family is more important than ever.
Laglag bala prevention
Here are some tips to prevent victimization by this horrid scheme:
- Use solid carapace check-in luggage without external pockets. They should be locked by the time you get to the airport.
- Cover your luggage in plastic wrap. You can have this done at the airport or do it at home.
- Use carry-on luggage and bags without outside pockets.
- Make sure all your kids’ backpacks don’t have outside pockets and are locked.
- Teach your kids to carry their own luggage and to not accept help from the porters or airport personnel.
- Take a photo of the contents of your bag before going to the airport.
- Ask to see your bags as they’re scanned by the X-ray machines and your spouse or kids to watch the bags as they come out of the scanner.
- Hide your valuables and dress modestly. “Spotters” usually choose passengers who look like they can can afford the extortion.
What if it still happens to your family?
Go to the next page to know how to protect your family from the laglag bala modus operandi or “bullet scam.”
What to do if you’re victimized by ‘laglag bala’
According to the Facebook group Philippine Expats/OFW Blog Awards, here are some things to do if you’ve been targeted by this scam:
1. Don’t agree to have your baggage opened. Ask for the airport police or a relative who can immediately call a lawyer for you. Don’t also agree when airport personnel ask you to open the luggage yourself.
2. When airport police are present, ask them to open the bag and retrieve the bullet. If the bullet found in the luggage is not really yours, it won’t have your fingerprint.
3. After the bullet is retrieved by authorities, ask them to do a fingerprint test.
4. If the result shows that no traces of your fingerprints were found in the bullet then you can file a case against the airport personnel including damages for lost time and inconvenience.
There’s also a petition you can sign here at change.org calling on Senators to investigate the matter.
Read: How to get your child to sleep while travelling.
What other tips can you share with OFW moms and dads? Let us know in the comments so we can add them here!
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