Execs assure public there’s no ‘tanim-bala’ in Mactan airport

CEBU CITY — Officials of the Mactan CebuInternational Airport (MCIA) has assured the public there is no “tanim-bala” scheme or the planting of bullets in the baggage of passengers passing through the country’s second businest airport.

The “tanim-bala” extortion racket, whose victims are mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), has stirred a controversy at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila.

But Engr. Nigel Paul Villarete, general manager of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), said it is not unusual to discover bullets in the baggage of passengers.

Villarete said Mactan airport security officers have so far seized at least 1,322 bullets and empty shells turned into “anting-anting” or amulets this year or about four such items every day.

He said of the 1,322 bullets confiscated in Mactan, 1,322 were duds that had been transformed into amulets.

Only 282 were live bullets, he said.

Villarete said only one last year and another one this year were charged in court for carrying bullets in their baggage.

A total of 1,224 amulets and 264 live bullets or a total of 1,224 were confiscated from passengers in Mactan airport from May to December last year.

Senior Superintendent Joselito F. Solido, chief of the Philippine Center for Aviation Security (PCAS) of the Philippine National Police, said dud bullets that are used as amulets are not dangerous because these can no longer explode.

But these still have to be confiscated in keeping with aviation security. PNA