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Monday, March 18, 2013

PPA to upgrade port scanner with atomic weight detector 
Rey Anthony Chiu 


CORTES, Bohol, March 15, 2013 (PIA) – If plans do not miscarry, slipping dangerous drugs through the ports would be harder than it used to be. 

This as Bohol-based government narcotic agents reported that a big bulk of the drugs getting to Bohol is shipped from Cebu and Mindanao through the main ports of entry. 

Over this, the Philippine Port Authority (PPA), upon whose noses allegedly pass these contrabands, admit that they have x-ray electronic scanners and several closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) installed in Bohol ports. 

But these may not be as capable of detecting well placed drugs and contrabands inside luggage and concealed in a person passing through the manual frisking, said port Police Superintendent Norberto Alfaras. 

At the peace council meeting held last month, Superintendent Alfaras stood for PPA manager Manuel Boholano, told the council members that while the PPA installed electronic x-ray scanners and other security protocols at the ports, some of these equipment are outdated and could hardly keep up with people involved in illegal trafficking of dangerous drugs. 

These are old models and its detection are limited to metallic objects like fire-arms and other explosives with metal contents that show itself in the x-rays, Superintendent Norberto Alfaras said. 

But he revealed that the PPA has programmed the acquisition of advanced x-ray scanning equipment which has the capability to detect the atomic weights of objects, as part of their security upgrading efforts. 

This state of the art equipment has penetrating rays that could get through concealed objects tucked in one’s baggage and measures each suspect object by its atomic weights and chemical components, he elaborates. 

As a suspected object glows in the scanner monitor, the scanner operator can just zoom in on the object and isolate the package for visual confirmation, he said. 

He also said the x-ray scanner can also identify a broad spectrum of chemical smuggling by picking on the atomic weights, making it almost impossible to escape detection. 

The programmed upgrade however is yet to be implemented, and Supt Alfaras added that the PPA may have to use frisking, plain view doctrine.

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