Last Sunday, October 25, an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) was not allowed to leave the country, after a bullet was allegedly found inside her bag. On the same day, a Japanese tourist had the same issue. In line with these incidents, below are some OFW tips on how to avoid Tanim-Bala scam at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Laglag-Bala gang as well.
The following tips are from the Facebook page of Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA) Inc., a non-profit organization of international Filipino Bloggers located in different parts of the world. It was founded by Knji Solis, an OFW blooger based in Saudi Arabia who also writes for jbsolis.com. He is also the organizer of KABLOGS, the gateway portal of PEBA.
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How to Avoid Laglag-Bala Gang
1. To avoid theft or being a victim of the so-called Laglag-Bala gang, choose a bag or luggage with a hard case. Unlike fabric bags, this bag is made of hard material such as PC (polycarbonate), and is therefore difficult to slash or rip-off with a knife. It is also better to choose a bag that has no zipper; you can also use a reliable security lock.
2. PEBA also strongly suggests that you wrap your luggage with plastic, especially if you’re leaving the Philippines to work abroad. In doing so, you are not only protecting your luggage from scratches and tampering. It will also help prevent anyone who plans to insert something inside your bag. Some airports have stations that offers plastic wrapping services on luggage.
3. Avoid using luggage and small hand-carry bags with too many outside-pockets. Also avoid wearing loose clothes or jackets. These spaces can easily be inserted with small things such as bullets and illegal drugs. You should also be keen observer while you are at NAIA or any airport for that matter. Look around you, and avoid trusting fellow passengers and strangers.
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Iwas Laglag-Bala Tips for OFWs, Credit: PEBA Facebook
What to do if you have been a victim of Laglag-Bala scam at NAIA
1. In case airport officials ask you to open your luggage, ask for a lawyer first, who will be present, or someone who can serve as a witness while your luggage is being opened.
2. Don’t ever open your luggage by yourself, to avoid your fingerprints be marked on the bullet or at the area where the bullet was seen. Instead, ask the airport officials to get it.
3. Ask the airport officials to check your fingerprints on the bullet, in front of your lawyer and police authorities. This is of course assuming that the bullet is not really yours.
4. If your fingerprint was not found on the bullet, file a case against the concerned airport officials and ask for the corresponding damage fees. They should also re-book your flight.
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Iwas Tanim-Bala Tips for OFWs, Credit: PEBA Facebook
As of posting, Japanese tourist 33-year-old Kazunobu Sakamoto is still under detention and is facing charges of illegal possession of firearms before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office. According to reports, two rifle bullets were found inside the breast pocket of his long-sleeved shirt that was tucked inside his bag. He is supposed to return to Japan when he was arrested.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong-bound domestic helper Gloria Ortinez, who was also arrested at NAIA on Sunday after allegedly having a bullet inside her luggage, has been released since Tuesday, According her legal counsel, Atty. Spocky Farolan, the 56-year old OFW has been working in HK for 20 years and is innocent on the allegations. Her case triggered a call for a House hearing.