The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is about to complete the installation of seven new hand-carry luggage security x ray machine in three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in a bid to curb smuggling and strengthen aviation security.
Customs Commissioner Isidro S. Lape?a on Thursday reported that two brand-new Rapiscan luggage security x ray machine have been installed in Naia Terminal 3, two units in Naia Terminal 2, while three more are being set up in Terminal 1. He added that the x-ray installation by the BOC started on June 5.
“These new x-rays will help us detect taxable items inside the passenger luggage such as jewelry, luxury bags and watches, undeclared foreign currency, and more important smuggled illegal drugs and other prohibited items,” Lape?a said.
With the installation of the new machines, departing passengers will be required to submit their hand-carry luggage to the BOC’s x-ray personnel for the conduct of a nonintrusive examination.
“We will still observe the standing rule, no opening of bags in the airport. However, baggage marked by the luggage security x ray machine…suspected to contain contraband items or misdeclared items can be physically examined,” he added.
In April 2017 President Duterte called on the BOC and the Bureau of Immigration to stop the opening of baggage in airports after numerous reports on baggage theft and pilferage.
In October 2017 the BOC beefed up its anti-smuggling capability by adding 19 new luggage security x ray machine in the three terminals of the Naia. The incidents of drug trafficking and jewelry smuggling in airports prompted the BOC to implement stricter border security and safety measures. “If you don’t have anything illegal under your sleeve, then there’s no need to be alarmed by the x-ray inspection,”Lape?a said.
The BOC chief added that since March this year, 12 apprehensions of illegal-drug importations were done by the BOC at the Naia. The apprehensions were done due to the strict profiling of Customs examiners on suspicious shipments as well as subsequent confirmation through X-ray examination and K9 inspection.
Meanwhile, the BOC has recently seized 11.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu at the Port of Clark estimated to be worth P74.8 million. The follow-up operation conducted by the BOC together with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency led to the apprehension of four suspects who received the parcel containing the drugs misdeclared as chairs and grillers.