Philippines & UAE: Why Filipinos planning vacation back home want 'bullet-proof' bags.

The Filipino community in the UAE getting ready for the next vacation season plan to pack their baggage in a ‘bullet-proof’ manner to avoid it being tampered at their home destination.

Last year, an alleged scam in the Philippines saw bullets dropped into the luggage of passengers as they went through airport security, sparking anger, fear and social media activism.

Despite a new president who promised a tough fight against crime and corruption – and a lot of discussion by the media and legislators – the bullet scam still haunts the expatriate community.

Last year, a number of incoming and outgoing passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, were detained for allegedly carrying bullets – it is illegal to carry live ammunition without license.

The victims claim that the bullets were planted by the airport staff in a bid to extort money. Called ‘tanim bala’ (planting bullets), passengers were faced with fines or even the possibility of being charged with the illegal possession of ammunition.

“Overseas Filipino Workers have been worried about what happened in our international airport last year. OFW voters were also angry that their kabayan boxes were subjected to strict customs check. These two problems along with other domestic reasons of criminality could have helped the new president get an overwhelming majority of OFW votes from the UAE,” said the Philippine Consul General in Dubai, Paul Raymund Cortes. The new president-elect got 85 per cent of OFW votes in Dubai.

Since the scam, the luggage wrapping service at Manila airport has flourished and OFWs are also availing of the facility in Dubai, Sharjah and other airports in the UAE. The bullet scam was also reported from other Airports like Cebu as well and in previous years too but the number shot up by end of 2015.

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Source: Emirates 24/7

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