THE Department of Tourism (DoT) fully backs Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista's recommendation to impose the highest penalty on airport personnel found guilty of unacceptable behavior.

"Tourism provides livelihood to millions of Filipinos, and all efforts are being exhausted to ensure the country's rebound, knowing how significantly tourism contributes to our economy," the DoT said in a statement on Thursday.

"Any crime committed against a tourist is a crime against our country deserving of punishment to the fullest extent of the law," it added.

The Office of Transportation Security (OTS) has been urged to "immediately file" charges against the security screening personnel who stole money from tourists at Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

This happened after authorities confirmed an incident in which a female OTS personnel swallowed $300 in cash that she allegedly stole from the wallet of a departing passenger.

Reports said the female security screening officer removed the passenger's shoulder bag for a manual check as the passenger was going through an X-ray scanner.

CCTV footage from September 8 then showed the screening officer looking away from the passenger while tucking something in her waist.

The officer in charge of the X-ray machine was spotted bringing a bottle of water to the screening officer.

The female officer then attempted to swallow the cash.

Airport security personnel were caught taking money from a Thai tourist earlier this year.

Another NAIA screening officer was detained five days later for stealing the watch of a Chinese tourist.

2023-09-22T16:23:53Z dg43tfdfdgfd