By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) clarified that some liquid items will be allowed inside trains and stations after its move to ban any kind and form of liquid drew heavy criticism from the riding public.
According to the transportation department, several liquid items may be permitted to be carried by passengers inside trains and stations “upon validation and approval of security personnel, and police officers in stations.”
These include baby formula or breast milk in bottles (if the passenger is traveling with a baby or small child); drinking water to be used by the baby or small child; all prescription and over-the-counter medications; liquids including water, juice or liquid nutrition or gels for passenger with a disability or life condition; life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs; items used to augment the body and for medical and cosmetics reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetics breast, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medical-related items used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions.
The DOTr and MRT-3 issued the list days after it enforced the temporary banning of bottled drinks, water and any liquid substance among its stations over the week for security reasons as these can be mixed to form a liquid bomb.
“Liquid bomb is composed of nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin is composed of four components: carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. It’s component in some relatively stable solid explosives, like dynamite. But, as a liquid, it is extremely dangerous and volatile,” the transportation agency explained in a statement on Thursday.
“Nitroglycerin is oily and clear, so if it is poured in an opaque lotion bottle, no one would know what is inside. Because it is clear and oily, nitroglycerin would be easy to conceal in lotion or shampoo bottles. Nitroglycerin’s inherent instability would make this bottle very dangerous for you to carry around,” the statement read.
The recently enforced ban on MRT-3 stations, as well as in Light Rail Transit Line 1 and Line 2, came after the Philippine National Police (PNP) heightened the alert level status in Metro Manila following the recent terror attack in Jolo, Sulu.
According to Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran, the ban will last “until the PNP gives an advice that our railway lines may go back to their normal security protocols.”
“We do not want to be lax on our security measures across all transport sectors so as to ensure the safety and security of our passengers,” Libiran told reporters.
Meanwhile, train riders were reminded that prohibited items which have been held by security personnel would be returned to its owner upon proper verification through presentation of appropriate identification to the Station Supervisor.
The DOTr and MRT-3 also seek “deeper understanding” from the riding public following criticisms hurled by passengers to the liquid ban.
Recently, the liquid ban on LRT Line 2 was the subject of an online discussion after a train rider called out LRT-2 officials for allowing someone with gallons of water to board the train.
LRT-2 personnel already answered that the man in the photo seen with two water containers in his side is the management’s utility personnel whose duty was to hand out the gallons of water from their authorized distributor to the satellite office of LRT-2 Station Operation Division at Betty Go-Belmonte Station.
Libiran said they are now planning to have uniform rules and regulations across all train lines, in coordination with the Office of Transportation Security.
To further ensure tight security among train stations, the DOTr and MRT-3 asked the riding public for full cooperation and understanding with the liquid ban.