The security screening equipment in question, particularly the Passive Millimeter Wave Scanners (PMWS) and the Bottled Liquid Scanners (BLS), were procured by the agency in 2014 and early 2015 respectively, to address technology gaps versus emerging threats to aviation security.
The PMWS were procured in response to an attempt by an international terrorist to detonate explosives in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. The PMWS are very effective in detecting metallic and nonmetallic threats, including weapons, explosives and other objects, concealed under layers of a person’s clothing, without having the target compromise his/her privacy, remove his/her clothing, or without physical contact thus avoiding the intrusive aspect of frisking that some people find degrading.
On the other hand, the BLS was in response to the earlier liquid explosive bomb plot in the United Kingdom, disguised by terrorists as alcoholic beverages, perfumes or other seemingly innocent containers. BLS enables rapid analysis of liquid containers, thereby accelerating airport security checks, improving passenger service, while increasing the probability of detection and efficiency of security measures. These equipment, having been included in the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Qualified Technologies List, have undergone a formal TSA sponsored test process and are deemed qualified for screening operations.
Contrary to the report of Ms Andrade, these equipment have been deployed at the airports since 2015 in time for the influx of foreign delegates and dignitaries during APEC Summit.
OTS Spokesperson Jonathan Maliwat said that Major airport hubs having international flights were the priority airports to have these equipment. Among those airports were the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport and Ilo-Ilo International Airport.
“Primarily, we intend to put some of these equipment at NAIA, being the primary gateway, but the Manila International Airport Authority has also initiated to boost the security of NAIA terminals through procurement of fourteen (14) sets of full body scanner to complement other existing equipment, that is why we have to relocate these equipment to other international airports to enhance its security screening capability.” Maliwat said.
Republic of the Philippines
He added, “Four (4) sets of PMWS and two (2) sets of Bottled Liquid Scanner were indeed received by the Mactan-Cebu International Airport while the other four (4) sets of PMWS and three (3) sets of Bottled Liquid Scanners were received by Ilo-Ilo International Airport. These were deployed prior to the APEC Summit in 2015 to ensure maximum security of the delegates and other airport users during the event. This is in contrary to the report recently released by the Philippine Daily Inquirer particularly by Ms. Jeannette Andrade, that these were missing.”
One (1) set of Bottled Liquid Scanner is being used by the OTS as a training aid for conducting training for Security Screening Officers performing security duties at the airport. While the other two (2) sets of this portable equipment are deployed during special events when there is projected influx of passengers.
The OTS maintains that these equipment are being maximized to ensure full security at Philippine airports.
Press Release # 2016-002