‘No thieves’: Pinoys counter MIAA’s ‘no pocket policy’ amid airport stealing incidents

March 3, 2023 - 1:54 PM
NAIA airport
Undated photo showing foreigners having their passports checked by the Philippines' immigration officers in an airport. (The STAR/Rudy Santos)

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced that it is implementing a policy that prohibits security personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from wearing uniforms or jackets with pockets. 

MIAA also prohibited the security screening personnel to interact directly with passengers or bring passenger bags into their areas of assignment, MIAA general manager Cesar Chiong said. 

RELATED: No more jackets, pockets for NAIA screeners

These measures came after the back-to-back stealing incident involving NAIA’s security personnel. 

On Wednesday, March 1, an airport staff was arrested after being caught in a CCTV footage stealing the watch of a Chinese tourist at a security screening checkpoint. 

RELATED: NAIA screener arrested for stealing traveler’s watch

About a week before this, at least five personnel were suspended after allegedly stealing money from a Thai tourist. 

MIAA denounced the theft incidents and said it would install additional CCTVs at the NAIA terminals.

RELATED: OTS personnel chided for alleged stealing of passenger’s smartwatch | DOTr suspends NAIA security staff alleged to have stolen from Thai tourist


Some social media users, meanwhile, questioned the efficiency of the MIAA’s “no pocket policy.” Others suggested that the best solution to avoid theft incidents is to make sure that those involved will be punished. 

“No thieves would be most effective policy baka lang,” a social media user said

“Even if they are butt naked, thieves always find a way,” an online user commented

“Ang magnanakaw ay magnanakaw kahit alisan mo pa ng bulsa,” a social media user said

“I could be wrong here but I think what they actually need is a ‘no theft policy,’ a Twitter user wrote

“The best deterrent is still the certainty of being charged & fired when caught. Just install CCTVs & make them sign waivers,” an online user said

“Baka puede isama na rin yung no pants, no underwear, no shirt or blouse at no shoes policy at puede din isuksok dun ang nakaw na relos, cash, jewelry etc. Haaay,” former senator Kiko Pangilinan sarcastically said

“In other airports, body scanners are automated and all you need to do is to stand up inside the scanner and no one frisks you. There’s also no personnel checking the things that come out of the X-ray machine. May pupunta lang to check if the X-ray detects prohibited items,” a social media user said

Apart from the “no pocket policy” and installation of more CCTVs, the MIAA has also ordered the removal of the film or tints covering the glass panels, which obscure transparency.

“We are trying to remove all possible forms of obstruction. This is one of our major deterrents to illegal acts such as pilferage or theft. These facility changes will not be limited to Terminal 2,” Chiong said.

He also said that they are also aiming to improve the vetting and background checks on security personnel.