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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, February 4, 2016
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Bing calls for review
of security at airports

Bacolod Rep. Evelio “Bing” Leonardia this week called for a review of the security measures in airports, sea ports, bus and train terminals.

At the same time, the solon also called for a review of the Government Service Insurance System coverage of airports and terminals catering to public commuters.

In a privilege speech delivered in Congress late Tuesday, the solon also asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development to take a closer look at the case of the Uy family from Bacolod, members of whom got caught in the crossfire of a shooting spree at the Bay 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in December 2013.

Titled, “Lessons from a Tragedy,” Leonardia's speech focused on the incident which, he said, exposed the dangers of using the country's airports and other terminals.

“It is ironic that while we require air carriers to exercise extraordinary diligence in the conduct of its business, such that even the faintest suspicion of malfunction grounds airplanes right away, the same does not seem to apply to airports, seaports and even bus and train terminals,” Leonardia said.

“We cannot simply just have safe airplanes,” Leonardia said, “we have to have safe airports, too.”

Phille Thomas Estoesta, 1 ½ years old at that time, died in the shooting tragedy where his cousin, Dianne Philippine Uy who was 3 years old at the time, sustained a bullet wound on her head. Their elders, Amalia Lirazan and Marie Ann Lirazan, were also injured.

Leonardia said the family has not received any compensation for the damages they sustained, and were only given immediate medical assistance when the incident happened.

The GSIS, insurer of the airport, said the NAIA 3 management had adequate security measures and therefore it does not have to pay for the tragedy.

“How it came up with this conclusion in the face of dead and broken bodies is beyond me. If security measures were enough, would a gunman even have penetrated the area and started shooting people?” the solon asked.

Leonardia said that, together with the Uy family, the district has borne this grief quietly for two years now, until he learned early this year that the family could not even afford a medical checkup for the survivors.

Dhianne goes to school with the hole on her head still there, the solon said, Amalia is suffering from pain on the left side of her stomach where the bullet passed, while Marie Ann still cannot use her left arm.

He urged the DSWD to see how it can help address the problems faced by the victims of the tragedy they had nothing to do with.

This family did not have any inkling they were to suffer from this incident, he added. “They were simply – tragically – at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The Leonardia speech is expected to spark legislative moves to improve security at our airports, seaports and other commuter terminals and also to provide compensation to victims when it so warrants.*



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