'No cause for alarm' despite U.S. advisory on inadequate security at NAIA – MIAA

MANILA, Philippines – Airport officials assured the public on Thursday, December 27, there was “no cause for alarm” after the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said security measures at the Philippines' Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were found to be inadequate.

In a press briefing Thursday, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal gave assurances the agency, along with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) would follow internationally accepted security protocols and standards.

He was responding to findings from assessments done by security experts from the DHS’ Transport Security Administration (TSA), which found NAIA did not maintain or carry out “effective security” that met the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). (READ: U.S. airlines ordered to alert passengers of inadequate security at NAIA)

“There is no cause for alarm even as we put in place security enhancements following the recommendations of the US TSA. There is nothing among these recommendations that cannot be addressed. Kaya po natin ‘to (We can address these),” Monreal said.

He added, “Rest assured these improvements are not intended to put burden on the passengers. Instead, these are being done to ensure a secured flight for everyone.”

According to Monreal, there were 16 recommendations given to airport and transport officials when the TSA carried out its exit briefing last December 7. Details of all the recommendations were not given as Monreal said these involved important security aspects at the airport.

Among those shared, though, included the need for consistent implementation of a staff list for employees working at NAIA, complete alarm systems, and locks on the airport’s gates.

Of the 16, Monreal said 9 have been addressed.

Effect on passengers: Asked if the security advisory on NAIA would affect passengers, Monreal said he did not expect complication to arise as there was no downgrading of services for the airport.

“The security protocols are there. The recommendations of the TSA are for a consistent and sustainable implementation. So there will be no effect on the passengers,” he said.

Monreal likewise appealed to the public to cooperate with security enhancements being done and asked that people “submit themselves to security inspection when warranted.”

He added, “Standards are there so the global aviation committee will have their own reference point. it is highly important that our aviation security protocols in NAIA meet, if not exceed them. This is our operation and shall remain our commitment to a travelling public.” – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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