MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) –
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila can never seem to escape the headlines.
Just months after the laglag bala (drop a bullet) scheme was uncovered, a new scam is all but brewing. (Laglag bala was a scheme in which unsuspecting airline passengers were questioned and detained after airport personnel supposedly found live bullets in their bags and luggage — all for the purpose of extorting money).
The new scam is called laglag piso (drop the peso) and it involves what appears to be a collusion between airport security and taxi operators.
Foreigners arriving at NAIA are offered a taxi ride to their hotel or destination and are handed a rate card that quotes the fixed fare in U.S. dollars, instead of Philippine pesos. The dollar rates are not only illegal, but exhorbitant. What could be a fare of just a few hundred pesos can turn out to be thousands of pesos, in dollar equivalent.
When questioned about the newly-discovered scam, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Joseph Angel Honrado said he has no control over the activities at the airport. “My role is merely to coordinate.”
It’s exactly what he said when questioned in the Philippine Senate about the laglag bala scheme.
Traveling to Manila? Drop the peso. Hang on to your U.S. dollar. It will go a long way. Away from your wallet, that is!