Earlier today, a Facebook post showing a travel advisory against the Ninoy Aquino International Airport went viral. We’ve already written about the advisory and what it entails, but we should hear the other side of the story, too.
Soon after the post made its rounds on social media, the Department of Transportation issued an official statement regarding the advisory which they sent out to the media, including WhenInManila.com.
The statement reads:
STATEMENT ON THE TRAVEL ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY – 26 December 2018
This is to assure the traveling public that the Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) are giving utmost priority and attention to the implementation of strict security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration conducted an assessment and gave recommendations regarding airport security enhancement and improvements.
MIAA and the OTS have been continuously working and coordinating with other international assessment bodies that include the International Civil Aviation Organization whose latest security audit findings were found to be “generally satisfactory” with ICAO standards of safety and security, with additional recommendations and suggestions regarding the implementation of the corrective action plan crafted by the MIAA and OTS.
Among the recommendations of the TSA include the installation of new equipment such as X-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors, and alarm systems. Procurement of such is already under process, but this will take time because the items are not off-the-shelf and will require lead time for manufacturing and delivery following government rules and regulations. These equipment are expected to be installed and utilized in the 2nd quarter of 2019.
Another recommendation is the conduct of new background check procedures for newly hired airport personnel, which will include neighborhood and NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency) checks for those implementing security control, and submission of new NBI clearances for all MIAA access pass holders.
The TSA also recommended a change in the “security culture” among long-time NAIA personnel in the area of consistent implementation and observance of strict security procedures. In this regard, re-trainings have been, and continue to be, conducted to instill in every personnel the need to be consistent in every aspect of security.
While waiting for the delivery of needed security equipment, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade has given direct instructions to implement manual interventions such as the hiring of additional MIAA-contracted guards 24/7.
Rest assured that the government, the DOTr, the MIAA, and the OTS are fully committed in employing all measures available to ensure the security and safety of the traveling public.
To be fair to the DOTR, there have been noticeable changes and stricter procedures in terms of security measures. From their statement, we also know that this advisory wasn’t sudden and was, in fact, something coordinated with them. This goes to show we shouldn’t assume anything from either party until all information is given.
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