US-bound airline passengers undergo body search

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — US-BOUND airline passengers are now subject to more security checks at the airport in Manila even though the Philippines is not part of the so-called “terror-prone” list, and following a foiled attack on a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines plane, officials said Thursday.

“We are strictly implementing our security guidelines plus redundancy checks for US-bound flights,” airport manager Alfonso Cusi said.

A US-bound passenger said passengers had been advised to prepare for tighter security and told to check in all baggage except for one small bag.

All passengers in Manila were now also being frisked thoroughly and their baggage checked and re-checked to prevent terror attacks, said Angel Atutubo, assistant general manager for security and emergency services.

The heightened security follows an alleged attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian to blow up a Northwest Airbus A330 on Christmas Day using an explosive hidden in his underwear.

On Jan. 3, the United States issued stricter checks on airlines coming from “terror-prone” countries and countries sponsoring terrorism. Officials named them as Iran, Sudan, Cuba, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.

Cusi said police visibility had been increased, and staff had been ordered to look out for suspicious-looking people.

Tirso Serrano, assistant general manager for airport development, said they would rather “have people complain about redundancy checks than be blamed for lives lost because we did not do our job.”