Solons grill airport officials over May 1 power outage at NAIA


Posted at May 11 2023 05:46 PM

MANILA -- Two lawmakers who were affected by the May 1 power outage at the NAIA Terminal 3 led their colleagues in grilling airport officials a House Committee on Transportation investigation Thursday.

Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Rep. Wilter Palma and Parañaque City 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting appeared before the panel to recall their experience with the outage.

"I'm a little bit disappointed because my children were booked... to attend sana sa oath taking ng mga kapatid nilang lawyer sa May 2 eh nangyari cancelled from Cebu and other areas in Mindanao so ang daming umiyak na mga relatives na mga new lawyers namin because of this," Palma said.

"Having arrived in the early morning of May 1 after a trip abroad... I also have videos to prove and to show the chaos that it has created," Tambunting said. 

He authored a resolution specifically calling for the committee to investigate.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) officials started with an apology to the public and to the lawmakers for the incident.

"On behalf of the department and MIAA we would like to sincerely apologize to you, to our passengers and stakeholders for the inconvenience generated by the power interruption that happened at NAIA Terminal 3 last May 1," DOTr Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Roberto Lim told the panel.

"On behalf of the MIAA, we would like to sincerely offer our apologies to all the passengers and stakeholders that were affected during the May 1 power incident," MIAA officer-in-charge Bryan Co told the panel.

Co reported to lawmakers that MIAA and Meralco have started an audit of electric systems of the terminal to find a path forward.

"We also have embarked on a comprehensive electrical systems review of the power systems of the terminal in which, through the valuable assistance of MServe, Meralco's subsidiary, we expect to complete within the month of May. Once the observations and findings of this team are discussed and confirmed, we will be rolling out the programs to ensure that the agreed recommendations are implemented at the soonest possible time." Co added.

Co expects the audit to be done this month.

Co explained that while terminals 1, 2, and 4 have generator sets that can meet 100 percent of their demand, terminal 3's generator sets can only supply 30 to 40 percent of demand in terms of an interruption.

"Imagine 15 years for us to realize na kailangan natin ng backup generators, nakakahiya!" Palma remarked.

Bulacan 2nd District Rep. Augustina Dominique Pancho called out the MIAA for failing to account for the terminal's growing power requirements.

"Dapat before kayo nag-accept chineck niyo muna if you can accommodate it," Pancho said.

Co said they are looking to lease at least 3 generator sets to ensure the operations of the airport are unhampered by power interruptions, apart from other measures.

Co explained leasing the additional generator sets would be a quick fix.

Engineer Sante Buella, Vice President and Head of the Central Distribution Services of Meralco, reported to the panel that when they investigated the 2nd outage that day, they found burnt transformers, which he eventually pinpointed as the cause of both that outage and the earlier outage.

Other lawmakers scored airport officials for failing to have "As Built" Plans for the NAIA 3, as these would have guided them in the preventive maintenance of the airport. 

Meantime, sabotage has not been ruled out.


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