MIAA denies deported OFWs’ claim on missing valuables

MIAA denies deported OFWs’ claim on missing valuables

OFW Andrew Montes (L) Photo courtesy: Mah Fe Moskila Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines – A video showing two overseas Filipino workers (OFW) claiming to have lost valuable items, including cellphones and pieces of jewelry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently went viral.

In the video, the OFWs were appealing for President Rodrigo Duterte’s help after they allegedly lost some of their belongings amounting to more than P40,000.

One of the two OFWs in the video, identified as Andrew Montes, arrived in the Philippines several days ago after he was deported by the government of Saudi Arabia.

Montes claimed that before they passed through the Immigration counter in Jeddah, they were asked to take off their wristwatch, jackets and socks and place it on their checked-in baggage.

When they landed in Manila, they were surprised to find out that their mobile phones, cash money and some jewelry were missing in the baggage.

In response, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) coordinated with the ground handler of Saudi Airline at NAIA and found no basis for Montes’ allegation.

MIAA said that based on their investigation, CCTV footages revealed no noticeable irregularities or mishandling of baggage.

MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal also said that placing valuable items in check-in baggage, such as cash, gadget and jewelries, are prohibited in airlines protocol and are subject to proper declaration.

“Ang kwento sa akin ni Andrew na pilit daw silang sinabihan ng Immigration sa Jeddah police or whatever na tanggalin daw yung mga valuables nila at ilagay sa check in bag. Sa protocols po natin hindi dapat nilalagay sa check in bag ang mga valuables. Hindi rin po dineklara sa airline ang mga valuables na apparently nilagay sa check in bag,” Monreal explained.

The Saudia Airline has also informed Montes that the company cannot be made liable for undeclared valuables placed inside his baggage.

Several reports from other Filipino deportees, however, have been observed based on records claiming that they also lost items from their checked-in luggage in previous Saudi Airline flights.

GM Monreal has assured to extend help to Montes even if his belongings were not actually lost in NAIA.

He also discouraged the public from posting complaints on social media if they cannot provide basis to support their claim.

“Ako naman nakikiusap sa kanya na bago mag-akusa, siguraduhin muna natin kung talagang saan nangyari dahil at the end of the day hindi lang MIAA ang napapasama kundi ang ating buong bansa ang napapasama dahil syempre yung mga nakakabasa yung nga turista magkakaroon ng negative impression,” Monreal appealed. – Joan Nano

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