Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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But can this scam continue? Anyone with a few Filipino friends on Facebook will have been swamped with stories about this scam, how to protect yourself, and general outrage. Surely baggage screeners are being watched more right now, especially those that claim to have found a bullet. And people are watching their bags more carefully. I'm sure the crooks will move on to some fresh malfeasance, but certainly this one is played out, right?
Doesn't seem like the current, rather useless, Aquino administration will do anything about it. The president, when asked for a comment, said only: "There is a helpdesk for travelers to go to".
I think Aquino needs the helpdesk. What an idiotic response.
See my clever response in the comments section of your blog, Dave. Cathy and I have joked that if we do somehow retire in The Philippines, the fact that I'm a kano will no doubt paint me as a target for random strangers coming over to ask to borrow money, food...well you name it. I can see it now. "Hey let's go borrow from the Bank of Pete..he won't mind, he's rich."
Well aside from wanting to build a moat with drawbridge around our house to keep unwanted neighbors from coming around, Cathy and I might make dozens of "complimentary vegetable plates." I know this for a fact. I'm married to a Filipina. There is no better way to get rid of another Filipino then offer them a plate full of vegetables. "So no, you may not borrow money but here's your consolation prize for dropping by." Eventually they will get the message and stop coming around.
So it may be a great idea to carry around a plate of vegetables around with you in the Manila Airport just in case you are nabbed with the bullet trick. You get pulled into a small room and given your options. Your reply, "oh I'm sorry I don't carry cash. How about a vegetable plate instead "
Yes...my wife says I have an active imagination....
I was so fascinated (and put it into my posting) that of the 4 bullets found just yesterday, 3 instances were actually legitimate - people carrying bullets as charms.
But as to the overall question, it's a strange world out there and we all need to grow a pair if we're going to enter it. But maybe that's just the fact that I grew up in Philly and went to school in NYC and assume it's dangerous out there in general. Plus I know that Janet will scream bloody murder.
If you look at some of the comments on the filipino news websites, most of those commenting seem to think that the pinoys that were caught carrying the bullets as "charms" are connected to the scammers so that the scam can be legitimized and the higher ups can cover their tracks. Those commenting all unanimously state that the notion that many Filipinos carry bullets as charms is absolutely absurd...
I am not really qualified to comment because I have never been to Phil, but I am going at the end of the month so this was very concerning to me. Therefore, I read up on everything i could in order to protect myself since I will be arriving in Manila, which took me to the local news websites where the overwhelming majority of commenters believe that the 3 legitimate "charm" incidents are connected to NAIA so they can cover their tracks by saying "See we really do have a problem with people carrying bullets in their bags becasue many filipinos use them as charms..."
Makes sense to me (having lived in a few 3rd world countries). Seems pretty likely actually.
I certainly do not mean to minimize this scam nor any of the other scams or money grabs you can encounter in the Philippines or anywhere in the 3rd world. Hell, do we think there are no scams in the 1st world? Course there are.
There are reasonable ways to keep yourself safe but at the end of the day, leaving your country is a risk, but the reward is worth it. I carry a travel wallet, travel pouch belt and do lots of what is recommended to protect my money and property when traveling abroad. So far the worst that has happened was a theft in my luggage (not the Philippines) and the airline paid me. I'm lucky perhaps but also create my own luck.
My recommendation: come through Cebu not Manila. It's a better city anyway.
Seems this scam involves hand luggage on departure flights from NAIA. I've got two departures, my return flight, and a domestic to Puerto Princesa which is only an hours journey or so. Might only take my camera and wallet in person onto the flight with the rest of my luggage going in the hold. Not much worth stealing from it anyway. Probably will do the same for the flight out of the Phils too just to be on the safe side.
From Attorney Persida Acosta
Attention OFWS/ Travellers: Re: Laglag Bala in Airport
Please call PAO hotline 929-94-36 or 029299436 in case you are being charged of alleged "laglag bala". Any incriminatory act of planting evidence can be criminally charged of "incriminatory machinations" under Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code (arresto mayor) and Section 38 of the Comprehensive Firearms Act R.A. No. 10591 Re- planting of ammunitions punishable of the penalty of reclusion perpetua(30yrs).
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