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Passengers reminded of procedures for transporting guns by air

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June 8, 2016

“Secure documents, particularly a Permit to Transport, with the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the guns and ammunition you bring whenever travelling by air.”

This is the reminder that the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) gave to the public following the apprehension of an American citizen by the PNP Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) for violation of R.A. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

A “Ruger P85” 9mm caliber firearm was intercepted from passenger James Edward Hill Jr. together with 57 pieces of ammunition and two magazines for the said gun.

These were intercepted just last weekend at the initial screening checkpoint at Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The Guam-bound passenger admitted to owning the items saying that these were given to him by his relatives in the Philippines and he simply wanted to bring it home abroad.

Hill added that he sought advice from his airline and was only told to place the firearm in its safety case. He was not, however, informed of the pertinent documents needed to be obtained.

The Avsegroup had Hill undergo further investigation following protocol.

MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado says that policies for the transport of firearms and ammunition differ internationally and among air carriers.

“In the Philippines, the PNP is strict when it comes to checking clearances for the transport of such items whether in small quantities or large shipments. Regardless of the quantity or purpose of transport, the public is advised to secure documents with the police prior to the date of departure,” Honrado says.

According to the Avsegroup, the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) of the PNP is the police unit handling clearances for passengers who wish to bring guns and ammunition when travelling.

The FEO will issue the passenger’s Permit to Transport, the basic requirement for a passenger to be allowed to bring a gun in-flight.

The said office also issues other related documents depending on the purpose of transport such as a License to Operate, Importation Permit, Authorization to Export, and a Certificate of Balance.

On the date of departure, coordination will be made by the FEO with the Avsegroup firearm facilitator deployed to the airport.

After approaching the police desk at the airport, the passenger will be accompanied by the facilitator to the Customs area for clearance before the passenger is checked-in for the flight.

Honrado says coordination is made with the proper authorities, including the Avsegroup and the Office for Transportation Security, in making sure that procedures are followed.

“The MIAA ensures that protocols of agencies are in sync at the NAIA as we all work towards the safety of the flying public,” the General Manager says.

He adds that, while the authorities are keeping to procedure, passengers should be diligent enough to inquire with their airline and the country of destination as to their own policies regarding the transport of guns and ammunition.