MANILA Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday reminded government officials that they are not exempted from undergoing checks and following security protocols being implemented at airports.
"Having an access pass gives you the opportunity to enter the area but that does not exempt you from following the protocols there. All of us must follow and respect protocols," Tugade said in a news release in reaction to an alleged security breach at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Sept. 29.
On Sunday, a netizen posted a video on social media showing ACTS OFW Rep. Aniceto John Bertiz III deliberately disregarding security protocol. The solon was seen forcibly taking the ID of Screening Security Officer Hamilton Abdul, personnel of the Office of Transport Security (OTS) personnel.
In the viral video, the lawmaker was also seen to be flaunting his ID.
Although the incident is currently the subject of a further investigation, Tugade stressed that no one, most especially public servants, are entitled to violate international safety and security protocols.
"Dapat yung pagdidisiplina, may kasamang political will. Kung pabayaan mo, uulit at uulit 'yan (In instilling discipline one has to have political will or else they will continue violating them (protocols). Protocols are set to safeguard security and order in our transportation hubs," Tugade said.
In a statement, Bertiz issued a public apology but insisted that there were Chinese-looking men who were ahead of him and were let pass security protocol.
Contrary to Bertiz's allegations, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal said, after having reviewed the CCTV footage prior the arrival of the legislator at the final screening area of the NAIA Terminal 2, there were no Chinese-looking men who passed the security protocol.
Monreal said he finds no reason to doubt the SSO's performance of duty, citing that it is his duty to implement standard operating procedures to all departing passengers.
"Pero kung mayroon siyang maipapakitang ebidensya o video ng ibang nakalagpas, iimbestigahan din natin (But if he [Bertiz] would produce evidence or video that some did not undergo the security protocol, we'll investigate it), Monreal said.
Meanwhile, OTS Administrator Arturo Evangelista reminded Bertiz and all other passengers to abide by the laws pertaining to boarding the aircraft.
The airline has all the right not to allow you to board, kung ayaw mong magpa-search (if you don't want to be searched)," Evangelista said.
Tugade assured all concerned groups and individuals that fair judgment will be carried out in the course of investigation.
The incident is far from being over as this should be an eye-opener for public servants to stay humble. We need to follow best practices overseas. We will uphold what is right and what is best for the greater good. We should set a good example as public servants, Tugade said. (DOTr PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency