Image grabbed from commons.wikimedia.org
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is scrutinizing the latest travel advisory issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alleging security measures at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as deficient.
The advisory which circulated on social media on Wednesday (December 26) said NAIA “does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”
“In view of this finding and effective immediately, airlines issuing tickets for travel between the United States and MNL are directed to notify passengers in writing of this determination,” the advisory further stated.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in response to the issue assured on Friday (December 28) that passenger safety remains the government’s utmost priority in NAIA.
“We assure everyone that the Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), is prioritizing the implementation of strict security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” Panelo said.
Among the recommendations are the procurement of additional x-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors and alarm systems.
These improvements, however, will be realized on the second quarter of 2019 as they need to go through proper government procedure, according to Panelo.
He added that the government is also taking into consideration the inputs from global partners such as the International Civil Aviation Organization on the issue.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is confident that the country has enough defense against terror threats in NAIA.
He noted, however, that the government cannot discount the fact that the country’s main gateway is a potential target for terrorists.
Lorenzana believes the US travel advisory referred to the rules and regulations being imposed in NAIA and not about it being vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
“Hindi naman siguro. I think it’s the management of the airport, the way passengers are being screened, ang mga equipment natin, if they are not adequate,” he said.
Nevertheless, the Defense Secretary calls on the public to be vigilant and alert against lawless elements and to keep safe at all times especially this holiday season particularly when going to crowded areas. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)