MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday morning made a surprise visit at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) following reports about delays and cancellations of several local and international flights.
Duterte made rounds at the NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City around 2 a.m., according to a news release from the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
He was accompanied by officials from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
During his visit, the President asked airline officials about the flight cancellations and diversions, and if affected or inconvenienced passengers were given proper assistance.
He also discussed how flight aberrations could be minimized, as well as a long-term solution to address the problem.
“The President apologized for the inconveniences to the public because of the delays, and I understand, the head of the NAIA committed to the President they are doing something about the problems in NAIA,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
On Sunday, more than 50 international and domestic flights at NAIA were canceled and diverted to Clark International Airport in Pampanga after ramp operations were suspended due to the inclement weather.
Airport operations were suspended for about three hours, from 6:40 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) issued a red lightning alert due to bad weather.
A red lightning alert is a safety measure taken to prevent any untoward incident from happening when flashes of lightning are prevalent in the immediate area and may endanger personnel, passengers, and even flight operations.
MIAA said the lightning alert was later downgraded to yellow, which was considered as a normal alert status.
Authorities earlier apologized to passengers affected by flight delays and cancellations.
Airport operations have since returned to normal. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)
President Rodrigo Duterte reactivated the El Niño task force this week after reports of recurrence of El Niño phenomenon.
The Memorandum No. 38, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Tuesday (Aug 13) aims to mitigate the effects of El Niño.
“Recent monitoring and analyses of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) indicate that the warm sea surface temperature fully developed into the El Niño phenomenon,” according to the memorandum.
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