Airport authority wants passengers to unpack bags at NAIA security checks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2)— Officials at the country's main gateway are studying the possibility of having passengers unload the contents of their bags and suitcases at security checks, an official said Wednesday.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said authorities have engaged in talks with the Transportation Department to address improvements for the security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), to help prevent the smuggling of banned goods — and even people.

The discussion comes amid an American woman’s attempt to smuggle a six-day-old baby.

“Pinag-aaralan din namin na lahat ng dadaan sa security protocols, kailangan i-divest 'yung laman ng bag or whatever, pinag-aaralan namin together with OTS (Office of Transportation Security) para magawan ng solusyon,” Monreal said.

[Translation: We’re studying the security protocols, like requiring divesting the bags’ contents or whatever, we’re studying them together with the OTS so we can provide a solution.]

"One point we really need to do is the airlines have to be reminded that they have to make sure these passengers are well accounted, the passengers are examined properly," he added.

Immigration authorities in September arrested a 43-year-old American woman after she was found hiding a baby in an oversized belt bag.

The Immigration Bureau said the woman, identified as Jennifer Talbot, did not declare nor present the baby to airport authorities during security checks. She also lacked the necessary travel documents for the baby.

Ahead of the exodus of travelers for All Saint's Day, Monreal said MIAA is also asking airlines to follow their departure and arrival schedules to avoid further congestion at the country’s main airport.

MIAA data show the volume of passengers at NAIA usually increases between six and eight percent during holidays.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.