Transport authorities have successfully made the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) safer and more secure to travellers with the recent lifting of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) public notice of concerns on the security of the airport.
“Now you can be assured that our airports are safe and secure. Our airports are competitive by way of international standards,” Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said Friday.
“The NAIA passed two consecutive inspections conducted by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in March and May 2019. We have changed a lot of processes which were there when we came in. We have also put in and changed a lot of equipment which was not there when we came in,” Tugade said.
“This is a welcome development. I am happy that our efforts came into fruition. I would like to especially thank the men and women of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) headed by GM Ed Monreal, DoTr TSA point person Gen. Raul del Rosario, the men and women of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), as well as other civil aviation security groups in NAIA. This is truly a collective effort,” said Tugade.
“While we are happy with this news, we must remember that the more important thing is that we sustain and consistently improve our efforts to ensure the safety and security of the passengers,” he added.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal thanked Tugade and other personnel who worked hard to put in place all improvements recommended by the TSA as well as all airlines and other NAIA stakeholders for cooperating.
Tugade untiringly guided the MIAA, DoTr-TSA focal person, Clark International Airport Corporation Vice President for Operations Gen. Raul del Rosario supported a well coordinated assessment process and the OTS assisted in implementing the improvements, according to Monreal.
“We will continuously work on promoting a strong security culture where consistency and sustainability of implementation of protocols become a way of life for everyone,” Monreal said.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim informed Tugade that the DHS has rescinded the public notice on NAIA and congratulated his team.
The DoTr team met or implemented the recommendations of the DHS and TSA namely the approval and publication of the updated NAIA Security Plan and National Civil Aviation Security Program; strict implementation of new security screening standard operating procedures; operationalization of alarm system of access doors; use of new screening equipment such as dual view x-ray machines and Explosive Trace Devices (ETD); recruitment, training and certification of additional Security Screening Officers; close coordination among all security units operating at the NAIA, such as the OTS, PNP Aviation Security Group, MIAA Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and contracted security guards; and the cooperation of airline companies, ground handlers and their concessionaires.
Meanwhile, the US State Department supported local aviation authorities by donating 25 ETD and provided Aviation Security Advisors to the Philippines to assist with the development and implementation of corrective measures at the NAIA; analyze security operations; recommend technology use and maintenance; streamline screening operations; and modernize NAIA’s security infrastructure.
The DoTr, along with the MIAA, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and OTS, committed to sustain an efficient and reliable security system at the NAIA, and work with relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure compliance with global aviation security standards.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan ordered Thursday the rescission of the public notice regarding security conditions at NAIA issued in December.
The notice was published on 27 December 2018, after multiple assessments of NAIA identified a failure to adequately implement and maintain international security standards and recommended practices established by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The U.S. State Department has provided $5 million to help fund airport security improvements at NAIA to include training and technology. The TSA has also provided Aviation Security Advisors to the Philippine government to assist with development and implementation of corrective measures at the said airport; analysis of security operations; and recommendations on technology use and maintenance; streamline screening operations; and modernizing NAIA’s security infrastructure.
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