A UNIT of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will investigate personnel involved in the filming and unpermitted frisking of members of the Korean pop group ENHYPEN at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). The seven-man boy band held a three-day concert in Manila over the weekend as part of its “Manifesto” World Tour.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) said, “The management is currently investigating the matter to determine the extent of violation committed based on existing rules and security screening protocols, if anything, and impose appropriate sanctions should it be necessary.”
The statement was issued in response to “a video circulation on social media, showing that airport Security Screening Officers allegedly exhibited unprofessional behavior and the unwarranted filming during the conduct of security screening procedures on a group of departing Korean artists at the [Naia].”
A video posted on TikTok and later shared on Twitter on Monday showed a ponytailed female Security Screening Officer frisking each member of the band after going through the metal detector frame.
The screening officer was seen giggling and looking back at her colleagues, appearing to enjoy the frisking of each male member. Some netizens also angrily pointed out that one of the boy band’s members was a minor, and yet was frisked as well.
While ENHYPEN’s members were going through the security checks, other OTS officers used their mobile phones to film them, with one even egging the same Security Screening Officer to tell the boy to remove his mask, ostensibly to check his identification, although the officer did not have his passport in hand.
Among the guidelines of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), also an attached agency of the DOTr, is a reminder that “no-contact security checks” are conducted at passenger terminals. “Security protocols shall be done via ‘no-contact means,’ but not limited to the use of walk-through x-rays, portable scanners, handheld metal detectors. Patdowns and frisking will be conducted only under exceptional cases.”
Meanwhile, the OTS said, “While we understand the excitement brought about by the presence of these Korean artists, we remind not only our personnel, but all airport users, that unauthorized filming at our security screening checkpoints is not allowed as a matter of policy. Rest assured that the OTS shall never tolerate any unprofessional behavior towards the riding public.”
The Department of Tourism has been trying to attract more international travelers to the Philippines and urging its fellow government agencies to implement more tourist-friendly procedures. Last year, the country attracted 2.65 million foreign tourists, although this was still far from the historic 8.26 million who arrived in pre-pandemic 2019.
#Naia was among the top trending hashtags in the Philippines on Twitter on Monday, even as angry netizens and Enhyphen fans tagged the MIAA in the video, although airport security screeners are under the OTS.