MANILA – An additional 1,500 screeners are needed to man all the airports across the country, an official said Wednesday.
The Office for Transportation Security (OTS) currently has over 2,500 personnel. Over 1,000 of them are stationed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
"Every X-ray checkpoint currently has three personnel. The ideal is five," said OTS Administrator Ma.O Aplasca in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.
There are six checkpoints at the domestic area of NAIA terminal alone. Aplasca noted that five people should man the baggage X-ray and the walkthrough scanner. Busy airports like the NAIA operates 24 hours, he said.
Budget constraints hinder the OTS from hiring additional personnel. Thus, the OTS is requesting additional budget from the Department of Budget and Management.
"We could not hire additional personnel because we could not pay their salary. The OTS budget for 2023 is just enough for the maintenance and other operating expenses, for the salary of our staff," Aplasca said.
The official added that of the 2,500 OTS personnel, only around 500 are holding a plantilla post.
Meanwhile, Aplasca confirmed that the scrapping of initial screening will be rolled out in all airports across the country.
Rolling this out in the airports in Mindanao, however, will be at a later time.
"Because of post security threat requirements, and in consultation with local security forces, we will not implement this yet in Mindanao, especially in airports in Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro," Aplasca said.
The scrapping of initial screening process will first be implemented in airports in Luzon and the Visayas, he said. (PNA)