Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat openly admired former PNP Chief Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa for complying with the airport security protocol on removing shoes.
The post came after Congressman Aniceto “John” Bertiz III was heavily lambasted when a video of him refusing to remove his shoes as part of the airport’s final security protocol went viral.
Puyat shared a picture of controversial former police chief on her social media accounts and praised him for adhering to the protocol, suggesting that Dela Rosa was different from Bertiz.
“I was so impressed that he actually removed his rubber shoes when going through airport security… so happy to see officials who do not think they are above the law,” she wrote.
She deleted the version on Twitter purportedly after some social media users called her out for praising Dela Rosa, who was the head of the PNP when Duterte initially implemented his bloody anti-drug campaign.
Our standards are so low that we have become impressed with public servants following protocol. 🤷🏼♀️ https://t.co/BrvSo5mYzB
— Divine GC (@divinegc) October 7, 2018
Despite the backlash, Puyat stood by and maintained her post on Instagram.
No one is above the law
In a previous report, the Office for Transportation Security reminded the public that they should submit themselves to routine security inspections following Bertiz’s incident.
Section 9 of the Republic Act 6235 or the law that prohibits certain acts inimical to civil aviation states:
“Holder hereof (of ticket) and his hand-carried luggage(s) are subject to search for, and seizure of, prohibited materials or substances. Holder refusing to be searched shall not be allowed to board the aircraft.”
Those who refuse to subject themselves to authorities in duty might also be fined for up to P500 under Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code.
Ed Monreal, the general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, further explained that shoe removals happen because there are different security levels implemented on airports.
When Bertiz was at NAIA, the security condition was at level two.
Security level one involves passengers removing metals from their pockets and a maximum of 20 checked-in or handheld bags to be randomly inspected by the authorities.
Security level two involves passengers removing shoes and subjecting them to undergo an x-ray check. Monreal added that in the past, contrabands and explosives have been hidden in shoes by terrorists and criminals.
“Para po compliant tayo at ‘di tayo masita ng ating international auditors, which is the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), US, Canada, Australia, Europe,” he explained.
“Dahil kung hindi ho, tayo naman malalagay sa alanganin, baka sabihin ‘yung mga airlines natin ‘di puwede lumipad doon dahil mayroon tayong breaches on security,” Monreal added.
Furthermore, the Philippines is a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation that decrees security standards to be practiced in airports. Shoe inspection is covered in Annex 17 of the document.