Photo courtesy by dreamstime.com
By Junex Doronio
July 24, 2022
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — Just like the old popular song “One More Chance” by the late Pinoy Jukebox King Victor Wood, officials of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) have appealed to the Commission on Audit (COA) for re-inspection after their mobile x-ray screening systems worth P196.382 million failed to detect or scan guns and ammunition placed inside vehicles.
“The x-ray machine is running and operational, however it failed to detect contents inside the vehicles such as guns and ammunition. It also failed to scan the inside of an armored vehicle considering that per specification, it is capable of 35mm thick metal sheet (scan) penetration,” state auditors revealed their findings in their annual audit report on MCIAA’s activities in 2021.
COA said the MCIAA purchased the machines from Ad Lib International Sales Inc. and these were delivered, inspected, and accepted by the airport authority’s property inspectorate team on Jan. 17, 2020.
It added that the equipment was fully paid in the same year, state auditors noted.
During a series of inspections conducted on May 20, 26, and June 2, 2021, by a representative from COA’s Regional Technical Services Office (RTSO) and attended by personnel of the MCIAA’s Airport Police Division, it was discovered that the mobile x-ray screening system could not detect guns and ammunition when it was tested on vehicles.
It was gathered that COA made the report on June 17, 2021.
“This being the case, the purchased Mobile X-Ray Screening System cannot serve its intended purpose of detecting illegal armaments that may be used by terrorists’ groups, thus, the intended outcome of enhancing the airport’s security posturing may not be attained,” COA noted.
State auditors instructed MCIAA officials to provide a written explanation on the matter or they could be subjected to a notice of disallowance.
“From the auditor’s view, this condition is a clear manifestation that there was a lack of rigid inspection of the equipment before accepting it,” they added.
But Col. Art dela Rosa, manager of MCIAA’s Emergency and Security Services Department, claimed the machines were capable of detecting weapons, ammunition, and even ingredients used to manufacture explosives as long as they were in bulk. (ai/mtvn)
He said at the time their machines were inspected by COA, they were not working properly as some of their parts had to be replaced after they were not used for months as operations at the airport were suspended due to the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.