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EXCLUSIVE

OTS provides cash rewards for finding contraband — official memo


 

A memo from the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) dated June 3, 2015 shows the OTS has a cash reward policy for finding contraband items such as weapons and explosives at security checkpoints.

In an exclusive report by Jun Veneracion on GMA News' early evening newscast "24 Oras" on Tuesday, the memo entitled "Proposed rewards/awards for deserving OTS personnel" provided for rewards of up to P1,000 for explosives, weapons, "stunning devices" and dangerous drugs found by OTS personnel or Security Screening Officers (SSOs).

Transport Security Risk Management Bureau Asst. Admin. Dir. Roberto Almadin confirmed the existence of the memo but he said only two to three people have been given rewards.

He asked the public to disassociate the memo from the "laglag-bala" extortion scheme.

The same memo, also signed by OTS administrator Roland Recomono, also stated that the rewards were instituted "to boost the welfare and morale of OTS personnel".

A later memo dated July 8 had a revision of the category list which indicated that OTS personnel could claim rewards for a single piece of explosive and for every five pieces of ammunition found per month.

Spocky Farolan, the legal counsel of an overseas Filipino worker who almost lost her job due to the alleged scheme, said the memo's lack of publicity could make the public more suspicious of the agency.

"This is creating suspicion. One: the fact that they didn't even make this thing public. Second: the policy itself have an intentionally created a situation where their personnel are enticed to create that situation which would earn for them that reward," Farolan said.

President Benigno Aquino III said on Monday that the "laglag-bala" scheme is not of the magnitude reported in the media. He said the reports on the incidents were "sensationalized."  —Rie Takumi/ELR/JST, GMA News