2 theft suspects at airport probed

MANILA International Airport Authority general manager Eddie Monreal on Saturday ordered ground handlers and security providers at the airport to submit to his office all records relative to the pre-employment of their workers.

The move, according to Monreal, was made to determine if these accredited companies servicing the four terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport made the right and proper background checks and verifications before hiring workers.

“They should understand why we finally have to do this. We have always been consultative with them, they know that. But the recent incident is the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak,” said Monreal.

Monreal was referring to the case of four airport ground handling workers involved in the theft of pieces of jewelry owned by the wife of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The suspects were identified as Yves Ronald Baguion, Wilson Mataganas, Ricardo Alfaro and John Andews Racoma, all employees of Miascor Ground Handling Corp.

In a meeting last Friday, Monreal told representatives of airport-accredited companies that MIAA had been conducting surveillance operations against workers in its desire to weed out scalawags in the airport.

Two of the four workers arrested, Monreal said, were included in the agency’s “watchlist,” making easy for Airport Police Department intelligence operatives to pursue them after the incident was reported.

According to Monreal, MIAA observes protocol each time the agency seeks help of the airlines, ground handlers or service providers in obtaining information that could help in case build-up against erring workers.

“However, more often than not, members of the MIAA security office are given the cold shoulder and their requests completely brushed aside,” he said.

Invoking Administrative Order 151, which affirms the authority of the MIAA over all operations in the premises of the airport, the MIAA chief laid down policies that he wants the airlines, ground handlers and service providers to implement immediately.

Among these are the submission to MIAA of monthly reports on pilferages; intensified guarding of baggage on departure and arrival and consistent implementation of frisking of all ramp personnel.

“The MIAA shall exercise its authority under existing laws, over those who will not cooperate. This could mean revocation of your privilege to operate in Naia or termination of your accreditation with us,” said Monreal.

He also reminded them about strict adherence to the “no pocket, no jewelry and no watch” policy at the baggage breakdown and build-up areas of the airport.

The baggage build-up area is where all luggage of both arriving and outgoing passengers are being sorted and loaded toward the baggage carousel at the arrival area and at plane, respectively.

It is jointly manned by airline employees and airport baggage handling and security personnel

“I expect everybody’s full cooperation. I strongly urge that you come up with policies and procedures to clean your ranks so we can achieve order in our airport,” added Monreal.

Airport chief information officer Connie Bungag said Monreal also ordered all MIAA administration department heads to do tight guarding of job order personnel whose work require them to be at the ramp area.

“No one will be spared,” said Bungag.