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Honest NAIA Airport Cleaner Finds and Returns Socks with Dollars Worth 1 Million Pesos

Rosalinda Cellero immediately informed airport authorities about the cash she discovered while on duty. Photo from the Manila International Airport Authority.

An airport attendant at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 has been widely praised for her integrity after returning a substantial amount of foreign currency she found while on duty.

Rosalinda Cellero of Dear John Services found a pair of white socks containing $18,800 (approximately PHP 1 million) in cash while cleaning under benches at the NAIA Terminal 3 South final security checkpoint past midnight on June 20, 2024.

Demonstrating remarkable honesty, Cellero immediately reported her discovery to her supervisor and handed the money to the airport’s Lost and Found Section.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) promptly reviewed the CCTV footage to understand the circumstances and identify the owner of the money.

MIAA General Manager Eric Jose Ines expressed gratitude for Cellero’s actions, stating, “We are delighted to have individuals like Rosalinda who exemplify strength of character and righteousness in the face of tempting situations. Her action is a testament to the values we uphold in NAIA. Truly, there are angels in our midst.”

Dear John Services Incorporated commended Cellero’s deed, acknowledging her exceptional integrity and the positive example she sets for everyone. “Gratitude beyond words to our employee assigned at NAIA Terminal 3, Rosalinda Cellero, who exemplifies honesty and integrity by surrendering 1 million. Your integrity shines brightly, and your actions inspire us all,” the company’s Facebook post read, resonating with numerous positive reactions from netizens.

No claimant has come forward as of this writing. The turnover of the found money can only occur once the claimant provides sufficient evidence to prove rightful ownership.

If no rightful owner claims the cash within seven days, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) will hand over the unclaimed funds to the Philippine Bureau of Treasury.

Ines emphasized the importance of adhering to regulations regarding the transport of large sums of money. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas mandates that any amount exceeding $10,000 must be declared to the Bureau of Customs.

This regulation is part of broader measures by the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Port of NAIA to prevent illegal currency transfers, supported by the eTravel System for passenger declarations.

Cellero’s story not only underscores the vigilance and integrity of NAIA staff but also serves as a beacon of inspiration for others in similar positions.

Cellero will be honored with a certificate of commendation at the MIAA’s July flag-raising ceremony. This appreciation is part of MIAA’s ongoing initiative to celebrate airport workers who demonstrate exceptional integrity and honesty.

This recognition is especially meaningful given that in May and June alone, MIAA awarded 21 commendation certificates to deserving staff members for their commendable actions.

Similar acts of honesty have been noted in the aviation sector. Filipino aviation security guard Albert Bautista was praised for returning a passenger’s lost personal items and cash worth PHP 1.4 million.

Additionally, two facility cleaners at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)-operated Zamboanga International Airport, Arron Paul A. Villanueva and Gracelyn A. Alihuddin, were celebrated for returning a bag of cash and valuables.

These stories collectively highlight the unwavering commitment to integrity maintained by NAIA employees and the robust measures in place to ensure strict adherence to both national and international regulations.

Such dedication fosters a secure and trustworthy environment for currency transport operations and reinforces the airport’s reputation as a beacon of integrity in Philippine aviation.

As Cellero prepares to receive her well-deserved commendation, her story serves as a poignant reminder that honesty, integrity, and dedication to duty are values that continue to resonate and inspire in the heart of one of the Philippines’ busiest airports.

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Judith Mariano
Judith Mariano
Judith, a Journalism student at PUP Manila, is a former Altermidya and Balitang A2Z intern. Her passion for writing ignited during her campus journalism journey. Aspiring to be both a children's book writer and a licensed psychologist, Judith combines her creativity and empathy to inspire and support others through her writing.

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