Three serving US Marines were prevented from flying from Manila to Tokyo after failing to declare a stack of ammunition and magazines.
According to GMA News Online, the servicemen were stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 9.55am on Friday, January 4, after 17 magazines and 60 live rounds were confiscated from a US Marine called Daniel Barlow. His rank was not revealed by the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) following a request from US authorities.
The three were participants in the recently concluded Balikatan joint military exercises held in Zamboanga. They were leaving the NAIA for Japan via Delta Airlines flight 180.
Airport sources said the Marines had flown on military planes to Manila from their base in Mindanao.
An airport security officer reportedly found the undeclared items when their luggage was being subjected to X-ray screening at the departure area of NAIA Terminal 3.
A video taken of the incident showed airport officials poring over the passports and other documents of the men while they waited with their luggage to board the plane.
Another video showed the intercepted ammunition being stacked on the security check counter and airport trays.
OTS officials — who have requested anonymity — said there was a lack of coordination between the US liaison officer and the relevant agency of the Philippine government.
The Marines were later cleared to leave and board a later flight after the necessary paperwork for the bullets and magazines were presented by the US liaison personnel.
As we recently reported, the US Transportation Security Administration concluded that the Manila International Airport Authority was lax in some security aspects. It listed 16 recommendations that should be addressed and ordered airlines issuing tickets for travel between the US and the Philippines to notify passengers in writing of its findings.
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