Ground crew hurt after lightning strikes NAIA Terminal 1

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1548

Courtesy : Unsplash

MANILA, Philippines – A ground crew member at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was reportedly injured after a lightning struck near the ladder where he was standing on at Terminal 1 on Tuesday night.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal identified the injured ground handler as Joel Arejola, 30, a worker of Macro Asia Company.

Monreal said that based on the incident report, Arejola was assisting an aircraft set to depart for Vancouver, Canada when the lightning struck around 7 p.m. that threw him off the ladder.

“While the ground staff/handling was removing the cable of the ground power unit… noong tinatanggal, nagkaroon ng insidente at tumilapon,” he said.

Arejola sustained abrasions on the leg.

He was quickly assisted by the MIAA medical team before he was brought to a hospital.

Monreal said the incident stresses the importance of suspending ramp operations at NAIA when a red lightning alert is issued.

“That is basically the reason why we are implementing this warning, the red lightning alert, to ensure that the passengers, the workers specifically, are safe because they are pre-warned or forewarned because of these incidents that are coming,” he said.

A red alert warning is issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) when lightning strikes are prevalent in the area and may endanger personnel, passenger and flight operations.

A prolonged lightning red alert may cause delays in flight operations, according to Esperanza Cayanan, chief of Pagasa Weather Division.

“Kung mayroong lightning within 9 kilometers doon sa aerodrome, nag-iissue tayo ng red alert para this will lead to suspension yung ground operation sa Airport,” she explained.

Based on NAIA’s security protocol, ramp movement in the airport are temporarily suspended when a red lightning alert is issued.

Airport personnel and passengers are also advised to leave the ramp for safety reasons.

The MIAA, meanwhile, assured that the NAIA is safe from lightning strikes as it is equipped with 20 lightning arresters to protect electrical and telecommunication facilities from the damaging effect of lightning.

A lightning arrester is a device that captures a lightning surge and diverts it into the ground, which absorbs it. (with details from Joan Nano)

P4.5 million worth of shabu seized in Pasay City

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has seized 640 grams of shabu (crystal meth) estimated to worth P4.5 million in a warehouse in Pasay City.

The contraband was found in an unclaimed parcel at the DHL warehouse.

The BOC said the seized illegal drug was concealed inside tin cans of wafer and packs of chocolates, stuffed toys, candies and slippers to avoid detection.

It was shipped from Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States and consigned to a certain resident of Hagonoy, Bulacan.

However, its contents were detected through “intensified vigilance and profiling BOC-NAIA” and coordinated with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG).

Chemical Laboratory Analysis conducted by PDEA confirmed that the seized white crystalline substance were indeed methamphetamine hydrochloride.

The BOC said the items have been turned over to the PDEA on Sept. 24 for further profiling and case build-up against those behind its importation for possible prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

BOC destroys tons of seized illegal vape products, other goods

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Around 21 tons of unsafe and hazardous goods were destroyed in a facility in Trece Martires, Cavite, the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) said on Monday.

In a statement, the BOC said the items, which included unregistered vape products, medicines and other supplies, were destroyed on Sept. 9.

The vape products were seized for lack of necessary importation permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the bureau added.

Vape products are used for inhalation of vapor created by an electronic cigarette and other similar devices. These items have cartridges filled with liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings ad chemicals.

The importation and use of vape products were highly regulated by the FDA in view of its noted health hazards, while the importation of unregistered vape products was prohibited under Republic Act No. 11467.

The BOC-NAIA similarly condemned expired food supplies, dietary supplements, medicines, medical kits and devices, glutathione products which were also imported without the necessary FDA permit.

These products can pose health risks if not disposed properly, the bureau said.

Part of the condemned goods last September 9 were other regulated items such as animal feeds, cements, electrical items, bulbs and batteries that were imported without necessary clearances.

The BOC said it will continue to check unsafe and hazardous goods arriving into the country without the proper approval and safety standards clearance to protect consumers and to ensure that only products certified by regulatory agencies with necessary permits are released in the country’s ports of entry.

PH Customs seizes Kush worth P852k at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) said it has confiscated another parcel containing 533 grams of Kush or high-grade marijuana with an estimated value of P852,000 at the Central Mail Exchange Center in Pasay City.

The BOC said the package was discovered to be misdeclared as five pieces of clothes and was shipped from California, USA. It was addressed to a certain “Aura Talob” of Davao City.

Instead of clothes, it was found to contain high-grade marijuana.

A field test conducted by the Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Trask Force and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency confirmed it as Kush marijuana.

The BOC said the item was turned over to PDEA on Wednesday for further investigation.

Individuals involved in the illegal importation will also be charged for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, it added.

The BOC previously seized Kush in NAIA last January 20, 2020 (112 grams), June 22, 2020 (1,954 grams), and July 15, 2020 (1,044 grams) all coming from the United States and were declared as “chocolates”, “green tea” and “street wear”, respectively.

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