Rappler CEO Maria Ressa arrested at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   March 29, 2019   •   1773

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities served the warrant of arrest to Rappler CEO Maria Ressa shorty after she arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday (March 29).

The arrest warrant issued by Judge Acerey Pacheco of the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 265 was in connection with her alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law and the Securities Regulations Code (SRC).

Prior to her arrival, Ressa posted on Twitter saying she will post bail for the case.

“Landing in a short while to face my latest arrest warrant and the 7th time I will post bail,” she said on Twitter.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed against the online news site, Rappler, over the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts to Indonesian company, Omidyar Network, which has investments in Rappler’s operations.

Such is a violation of the Constitution, according to the complaint, as media entities in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino-owned. This brought up the allegation that Rappler was being controlled by foreign entities.

Rappler maintained that the allegations are not true even after the Court of Appeals ruled that the news website was not fully-owned by Filipinos.

“The grant of control to a foreign entity over a mass media entity, regardless of the actual exercise of such foreign control, is already considered a violation,” the CA ruling said.

After the serving of the arrest warrant, Ressa was escorted to the Pasig RTC to post bail. – Marje Pelayo

NAIA reopens for int’l chartered, commercial flights with homebound Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has opened for inbound international chartered and commercial flights on Monday (May 11).

The resumption of operations, however, is only limited to overseas Filipinos who are returning home to the Philippines, clarified the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

CAAP added that foreign tourists and non-residents remain restricted from entering the country except for diplomats and heads or members of international missions. 

“Itong in-issue ng Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines na Notice to Airmen is only starting today hanggang June 10 but it doesn’t mean na hanggang June 10 ito (The CAAP-issued Notice to Airmen is only starting today until June 10, but it doesn’t mean it’s only up to June 10),” noted CAAP Spokesperson Eric Apolonio.

“Depende ito sa sitwasyon. Kung mag-i-improve naman, baka mag-relax iyong restrictions ng arrivals ng international flights sa airport (It will depend on the situation. If it improves, we may relax restrictions on international flight arrivals in the airport),” he added.

Inbound international chartered flights will only be allowed to land at NAIA on Mondays and Thursdays provided that they secure a clearance from CAAP and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

International commercial flights, meanwhile, are allowed during Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Such scheduling of flights is needed as NAIA, for now, can only accommodate 400 passengers a day so as to maintain strict physical distancing protocols and to comply with the rules imposed by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 in the conduct of COVID-19 testing and other procedures on all arriving passengers in NAIA.

Commercial flights, however, must get the approval of CAAP within 48 hours prior to its take off from point of origin. 

If the flight is coming from countries with high incidence of COVID-19 infection, the permission to allow them to proceed will depend on the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) as the overall in charge of the national government’s response on the global pandemic. 

CAAP reiterates that social distancing protocols will always be observed in every flight. MNP (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Young doctor among 8 fatalities in medical evacuation plane crash at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   March 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A medical evacuation plane burst into flames shortly while taking off at Runway 24 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday evening (March 29).

The flight carrying eight passengers, including an American and a Canadian national, was bound for Haneda in Japan.

“Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement.

MIAA said the runway has been temporarily closed while the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines carries out an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Reports said the flight was carrying a Canadian patient and a companion; a doctor and a nurse.

The Manila Public Information Office citing PLM President Noel Leyco revealed the identity of the doctor who perished in the accident.

In her Facebook post, Nicko’s sister, singer-songwriter Ria Bautista, confirmed that her younger brother, Cenover Nicandro “Nicko” Baustista was among the eight crash victims.

“I lost my brother on that flight. No words can describe how devastating it is to lose a family member in such a horrific way. How do you process something like this,” she said.

She posted her brother’s last post prior to the tragedy and hailed the efforts of his brother and all of the front liners in the battle against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“He fought like a hero and I can only hope that his fight would not be in vain,” she concluded.

8 killed as medical evacuation plane explodes on NAIA runaway

UNTV News   •   March 30, 2020

An aircraft bound for Japan exploded at Runway 24 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday (March 29) at around 8:00 PM, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) confirmed in a statement.

The Lion Air West Wind 24 aircraft bound for Haneda, Japan was carrying eight passengers — three medical personnel, three flight crew, a patient and a companion— on a medical evacuation mission.

It was about to take off when it suddenly caught fire then exploded, killing all eight people on board.

Immediately after the incident, the MIAA Fire and Rescue team were dispatched to the site to douse the flames with chemical foam.

The runway has been temporarily closed, as investigators from the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines are now on site to determine the cause of the incident.

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