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Airport, BI authorities stop ‘escort service’ at Naia

SALAD days of the so-called “escort service” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are numbered, with airport authorities and immigration officials linking hands to stop unathorized people from entering off-limits areas.

The Manila International Airport Authority, in close coordination with the Bureau of Immigration, is now formulating a new policy aimed at stopping the wanton disregard of an airport regulation prohibiting unauthorized individuals from entering immigration areas to give special treatment to VIP (very important person) passengers.

Just recently, a certain “SP04 Ciriaco Peralta” escorted businessman Charlie “Atong” Ang, actress Gretchen Barreto and company upon their arrival at the Naia Terminal 1 from Bangkok, Thailand.

Peralta, reportedly wearing access pass from the airport’s pass control office, told the staff of the Immigration-Border Control and Intelligence Unit he would be escorting Ang, who was with Barreto.

Immigration reports showed that Peralta was “a media practitioner” and was an employee of the Rustan’s retail stores.

After learning this information, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente asked Miaa general manager Eddie Monreal to look into the matter and take appropriate action to prevent similar incident in the future.

The Bureau of Immigration on Wednesday also came up with a memorandum directing its personnel assigned at the airports to strictly enforce the policy declaring as off-limits to unauthorized persons its immigration areas and the ban of giving VIP treatment to passengers.

Morente said he had instructed BI port operations division Marc Red Mariñas to relay the directive to all BI personnel assigned and discipline those who defy the same.

He also said BI employees should desist from escorting or facilitating the walk-through of arriving and departing passengers, either personally or via text messaging or phone calls, for the purpose of expediting the conduct of immigration formalities by immigration officers in the counters.

The BI chief also reiterated that only BI employees on duty, and those who have travel orders, would be allowed to be present in or at the premises of any international port entry at any given time.

Mariñas, for his part, issued a separate memorandum warning all BI personnel assigned at the airports to strictly obey the bureau’s “no travel facilitation, no loafing and no loitering” policy.

He also warned that employees who disobey the directive would  dealt with severely and given disciplinary actions.

Mariñas said that no immigration officer or BI or POD employee was involved in escorting Ang and Barreto. 

Meanwhile, MIAA cautioned air travelers against an ongoing extortion racket in which unscrupulous people would pretend to be Immigration personnel providing “escort service.”

It added the public, especially overseas Filipino workers, should not deal with fake BI agents who are only out to extort money. 

Last April, Ang asked for government protection against the plot allegedly planned by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and other government officials who, he said, wanted to weaken the virtual jai alai operations of Meridien Vista Gaming Corp., where he is general manager, to promote Small Time Lottery.

But Aguirre denied accusations he was involved in a plot to kill Ang.

He said Ang made the allegation as his way of getting back at him after his office ordered the recent raid at Fontana Leisure Park in Clark which, he claimed, “busted the billion-peso online illegal gambling operation conducted there by his business partner and best friend Jack Lam.” 

Topics: “escort service” , Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Manila International Airport Authority , Bureau of Immigration

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