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Shoes-off policy at airports suspended —OTS

The Office for Transportation Security (OTS) on Tuesday announced the temporary suspension of the mandatory footwear removal in all airports all over the country pending the review of the policy by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

In a statement, the OTS said passengers will only be required to remove their footwear when an alarm is triggered during security screening or during increased security condition level.

The suspension of mandatory removal of footwear policy began on October 13, 2023.

The OTS implemented the mandatory footwear removal on July 10, 2023 regardless of the security condition level to detect and deter any prohibited items which may be concealed inside the footwear and used to commit acts of unlawful interference. 

The agency said that in 2001, it can be recalled that Richard Reid, an Al-Qaeda terrorist, attempted to blow up a passenger aircraft through an explosive hidden in the sole of his shoes.

This incident prompted several countries in the world to implement measures including the removal of footwear for x-ray screening before one can be cleared for security, the OTS said.

The airport security agency added that on August 10, 2023, an ammunition and a packet of suspected drugs were intercepted by the OTS at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 during the x-ray inspection of shoes belonging to a Chinese passenger, who was subsequently endorsed to law enforcement officers for appropriate filing of charges.

The agency added that on the same day, but on a separate incident at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, another passenger was arrested after the OTS intercepted a suspected marijuana concealed inside a shoe of a Surigao-bound passenger.—LDF, GMA Integrated News