A simple way of making money called LAGLAG BALA (drop a bullet) or TANIM BALA (plant a bullet) is just the latest twist to the chronic EXTORTION RACKET at the Philippine International Airport in Metro Manila. Foreign and local tourists, balikbayans (returning Filipinos) and OFWs
(overseas foreign workers) have always lined the pockets of corrupt security, customs and immigration officials through various “infractions” (improper documents, unauthorized materials in luggage, harmful substances, lethal objects and the like) needing some remedy or FIX. Jail time, huge fines and unnecessary delays in flights out of the country can always be prevented with GREASE MONEY. The flavor of the month get rich scheme involves planting bullets in bags of airline passengers and said bullets are “discovered” by the checkpoint x-ray machines. A standard amount of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS is demanded and after some haggling and payoff, the passenger is let go although a few thousand pesos poorer. If passengers protest their innocence or prove difficult to deal with, the FULL FORCE of the law is imposed on them – detention and a court appearance with a possible guilty verdict and jail time. As usual, government officials (DOTC Secretary, airport general manager, etc.) are either clueless, evasive, in a state of denial, defensive or mouth STUPID statements (“isolated case”, “very small percentage”). Aside from the personal inconveniences suffered by the helpless victims, the tourist industry has also been affected by the NEGATIVE PUBLICITY, another black eye for It’s more Fun in the Philippines.