NAIA runway upgrade to aid swift delivery of vaccines

Marje Pelayo   •   February 16, 2021   •   726

MANILA, Philippines — The upgraded runway at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) can now be used for domestic flights following its yearlong rehabilitation.

The runway will also aid the swift delivery of vaccines in the country. 

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) led the inauguration of the rehabilitated and upgraded runway 13/31 in NAIA on Tuesday (February 16).

The department was able to finish the repair and overlay of the runway which include the repair of deteriorated asphalt pavement areas and the entire runway to assure the aircraft’s safe landing and take off.

Apart from the upgraded runway, a newly-constructed taxiway was also inaugurated to manage air traffic and to address aircraft congestion on the ground.

According to MIAA General Manager Eddie Monreal, this will also benefit the anticipated volume arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the country that is expected to happen this month.

GM Monreal cited that prior to the construction of the new taxiway it takes more than an hour before an aircraft could take off on runway 13/31, but now it could possibly take only about 30 minutes with the new taxiway.

“Dati kasi ang nga flights kasi galing Terminal 3 at Terminal 2 pag nagtake-off po sa domestic runway yung maiiksi natin umiikot sila hanggang dulo sa harap ng Terminal 4,” Monreal said.

“Ngayon hindi na sila iikot doon. Mayroon tayong parang tinatawag na bypass taxiway na para pagdating dun sa area na yun kakaliwa sila derecho take off na so hindi na maabala yung movement ng terminal 4,” he added.

The construction of the runway was conducted during the strict quarantine that is why flight operations were not hampered.

Meanwhile, airport officials also completed the rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 2 to accomodate more passengers.

“So lumuwag po ang departure area, pre-departure area ng International area. Sa labas naman makikita ninyo meron tayong extra space na nakuha para magamit ng mga pasahero na aalis ng bansa. Lumaki yung check in counter. Nakadagdag tayo ng security screening kasi dati yun ang nagiging reklamo na medyo mahaba ang pila sa labas,” Monreal noted.

Although the rehabilitation was completed, MIAA said that bidding for the upgrade of terminals is yet to be decided. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Live leopard gecko seized at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized a live leopard gecko at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) packed in a parcel from Thailand.

The package arrived at Paircargo warehouse without the required import permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This prompted the conduct of 100 percent physical examination on the parcel which resulted in the discovery of a live leopard gecko approximately valued at P20,000.

According to DENR, gecko is a species regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and protected under Republic Act (RA) No. 9147 otherwise known as the Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

Its collection from the wild, as well as trade, requires an import permit from the Biodiversity Management Bureau under the DENR.

Violation of RA 9147 is reportedly punishable by imprisonment up to four (4) years and a fine up to P300,000.00.

The seized leopard gecko shall be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings for violation of Section 1113 in relation to Section 117 of the RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and Section 11 of RA 9147.

The custody of the seized wildlife species was immediately turned over to DENR.

Duterte orders Cebu to follow IATF’s COVID-19 testing, quarantine protocols for returning Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on the diversion of Cebu-bound flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) lapsed on June 12.

“From the Office of the Executive Secretary, the President has decided that the IATF protocols must be implemented by the Cebu province,” Roque said during his regular online briefing.

“The President has also considered the DOH critique and has decided that Cebu province must abide by IATF arrival protocols,” he added.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to undergo quarantine in a government-accredited facility for 10 days and take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“The last extension was just a preparation for full implementation of that decision,” Roque said, pertaining to Medialdea’s order to extend the diversion of flights bound for Cebu to NAIA, which was in effect from June 5 to 12.

Roque, however, leaves to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) the decision on what measure to take should Cebu continue to defy the national government’s protocol.

Duterte earlier met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss quarantine protocols.

Palace extends diversion of Cebu-bound int’l flights to NAIA until June 12

Robie de Guzman   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The diversion to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) of international flights bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will be extended to June 12, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has issued a memo extending the flight diversion “until 23:59 hours of June 12.”

 Roque said this is to provide ample time for authorities to thresh out Cebu Province’s COVID-19 protocols for returning Filipinos, which differs from the directives issued by the national government.

International flights for MCIA were initially redirected to NAIA from May 29 to June 5.

“Ito po’y para maayos yung pag-implement ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) arrival protocol sa Cebu,” Roque said in a media briefing.

The Cebu government requires passengers to undergo a test upon arrival at the airport while the IATF requires screening of passengers on the 7th day of their quarantine.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss this difference.

Roque expects the Cebu government to comply with the specific protocols mandated by the IATF after the flight diversion period ends.

“Upon resumption of flights to Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the travel and testing protocols approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases will be fully and seamlessly implemented,” Roque said, reading from the memo.

“Inaasahan po natin that on the 13th of June, the IATF protocols on arriving OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and OFs (overseas Filipinos) will be implemented in Cebu. Yan po ay according to the memorandum issued by the executive secretary dated 5 of June 2021,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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