Be aware of “Tanim Balam” Scheme at MNL Airport

So I was rummaging through some articles and I recently stumbled upon this,  “Philippines Airport Bullet-In-Bag Scam Hits Travelers”

I thought it was was an exaggeration but turns out nope, the title of the article means as read.
The Philippines in no shape or form allows any unlicensed firearms and ammunition in the country. As a result, some of the security screening personnel (speculating to be part of a grander scheme of things) have taken this as an advantage in order to extort large sums of money from travelers by planting illegal ammunition and firearms inside the luggage. This is also known as “tanim bala”, planting of bullets in luggage or “laglag  bala”,  dropping of bullets in the luggage.

For those of you who are going to the Philippines,  please be careful and take extra precaution when you’re at the airport especially when going through security screening; five cases were already reported in the past two weeks and seems to be occurring more frequently in their busiest airport of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

If you are going on a trip there soon, CNN has listed some helpful tips in order to avoid these scams.

  1. Hard case luggage and avoid bags with external pockets
  2. Cling wrap your luggage – makes it more difficult for them to plant anything plus it is easier to detect tampering; most airports offer this service with extra cost at the airport
  3. Let the officials go through your bag (ONLY in the presence of a witnesses, a lawyer and official’s supervisor)
    – Keep an eye on your baggage at all times
    – If the security personnel claims you are the owner of the illegal ammunition,  you have the right to wait until your lawyer, airport official supervisor or a third party witness is present at the site for them to go through your bags
  4. You have the right to remain silent – until the presence of a lawyer or else evidence will be inadmissible in court
  5. Know your legal rights

To read more about these schemes, I have provided links below to the original article as well as a couple of videos for you to see how they are attempting to pull these schemes off.

Travel safe everyone!!


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