Published: Wednesday 20 June, 2018

Customs Personnel Extorting Money from Tourists at NAIA? So, What’s New?

Arriving Chinese tourists are accusing Customs personnel at NAIA of extortion! This was revealed by Berna Romulo Puyat, secretary of the Department of Tourism. It seems old habits die hard for some Customs employees.

NAIA customs extortion

It seems some NAIA airport Customs officers can’t shake off their bad habits. ( photo)

“Some of the tourists were complaining that… money was being extorted,” said the DOT chief, adding that she has already talked to Bureau of Customs chief Sid Lapena about it.

“Sid Lapeña said OK and we already looked at it but we’ll be adding more CCTVs, so we are able to check whether these reports are verified or not,” said Puyat as quoted by GMA News’ 24 Oras.

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So, what’s new? Customs officers at NAIA have been doing this for many, many years. In fact, I think it’s already part of their DNA. 

I remember traveling alone as a 12-year old many years ago and two airport Customs officers tried to threaten me with heavy ‘taxes’, and even detention, if I didn’t give them one of two shirts I brought home for an uncle. 

On another trip, I was with my mom and the same thing happened. Over the years, we’ve heard of similar extortion attempts on relatives and friends. Similar incidents have been reported in the news and social media.

We thought this modus operandi has been minimized in recent years. Unfortunately, we’re wrong. 

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