Manila: A Philippine legislator has drawn widespread criticism after he refused to remove his shoes during a mandatory security check at terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The video has surfaced and shows Aniceto John Bertiz III, who is laughing at a security guard from the airport asking him to remove his shoes.
ACTS OFW Party list Rep. Bertiz can also be seen in the video while pushing his security ID card in the face of the security officer.
According to the manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Ed Monreal, the airport staff watched the security protocol when they asked him to have Bertiz remove his shoes.
"The airport only followed internationally recognized security protocols when Rep. Bertiz was told to remove his shoes, which is required at airports around the world according to the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)," he said in a press conference on Monday .
ICAO is a specialized UN agency that sets standards and recommended practices and policies to support a safe, efficient, safe, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.
Office of Transportation Security (OTS) manager Art Evangelista said that the safety of all passengers is paramount.
"If you do not want to be subject to a check, you are considered a threat," he said.
Monreal said that showing a government ID card at the airport did not exempt officials from checks.
"Only the president gets a VIP treatment," he said.
The Presidential Palace, for his part, reprimanded Bertiz for not giving a good example as a civil servant, saying that even presenter Rodrigo Duterte subjects himself to compulsory screening at the airports every time he goes aboard a commercial flight.
"Even the president meets security checks at the airport, he goes through the X-ray machine and he does not ask for special treatment," said Harry Roque, president-spokesman.
"Let's learn by way of example what the president is doing, and the president does not ask for special treatment," he added.
On social media, many foreign Filipino employees who have passed strict security procedures every time they leave the country criticize Bertiz.
They said the congressman should not be treated differently than any other person who leaves the Philippines or goes through the airports.
President Duterte repeatedly instructed government representatives not to seek special treatment because they are civil servants who work for the welfare of the people.