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PASAY CITY -- The Department of Transportation’s Office for Transportation Security (DOTr-OTS) intercepted a total of 1,880 prohibited items at various airports nationwide for the entire month of March.

Forty-nine (49) of the intercepted items were suspected live bullets, while 81 were “non-live” bullets kept as amulets, or shell casings taken as souvenirs from firing ranges.

Since 2016, under the strict instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte and DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, bullets kept as amulets or souvenirs by passengers are simply confiscated and recorded. The passenger is then allowed to continue with the flight without any undue delay.

Meanwhile, 1,750 items of the total number seized included lighters, liquid items in containers of more than 100 mL, air guns, knives, scissors, workers’ tools, cutters, and other similar sharp and pointed objects.

Pagadian Airport reported the highest number of intercepted security restricted items with 31 incidents and 644 items, followed by Tacloban Airport with 24 incidents and 399 assorted security restricted items intercepted.

OTS Administrator Undersecretary Raul L. Del Rosario lauded the vigilance of OTS airport Security Screening Officers (SSOs) who act as the first line of defense at the airport.

“Pansin natin na pataas nang pataas 'yung vigilance ng ating airport SSOs despite the pandemic na kakaunti 'yung volume ng mga bumibyahe. Nakita rin natin na malaki ang naging tulong dito nung mga karagdagang advanced x-ray machines at other security screening equipment na nabili natin noong mga nakaraang buwan. 'Yung bawat sentimo ng budget na binibigay sa amin, sisiguraduhin namin na mapapakinabangan nang malaki ng mga Pilipino,” Usec. del Rosario said.

“Magmula noong pandemic, siniguro rin natin 'yung health and safety ng mga pasahero at pati na 'yung aming mga empleyado. Kaya in line doon sa ICAO standards and recommended practices, nag-issue kami noon ng policy on Modified Security Screening, kung saan effectively, na-minimize natin yung physical contact ng mga tao through the use of advanced security screening technologies gaya ng full body scanner at hand held metal detectors,” he added.

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