NAIA security measures get US government approval

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 11:53 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2019 12:30 AM

Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has lifted its security advisory on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, in a DHS statement Thursday, said he ordered the lifting of a December 2018 public notice regarding poor security conditions at NAIA.

"After months of direct engagement with the United States, the Government of the Philippines has made significant improvements to the security operations of MNL. Both the Manila International Airport Authority and the Government of the Philippines civil aviation security authorities have demonstrated they are willing to work toward sustaining those improvements," the statement said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. confirmed the news.

"US Homeland Security lifted security concerns about NAIA. Congratulations US Amb Kim Sung for all the help; PH Amb Babe Romualdez in Washington for the unrelenting pressure; and DOTr Sec Tugade for doing in 6 months what US Homeland expected would take years. What a winning team," he said in a tweet.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim also congratulated the Manila International Airport Authority and the DHS' Transportation Security Administration for working together to improve security conditions at NAIA.

"I want to congratulate our colleagues at @MIAAGovPH and @TSA for working together so effectively to improve security conditions at NAIA to achieve standards and practices established by the International Civil Aviation Organization," Kim tweeted.

US Homeland Security in its travel notice in December 2018, earlier said NAIA "does not maintain and carry out out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)."

The Philippine Department of Transportation said the TSA recommended the installation of new x-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors, and alarm systems in the country's premier gateway as part of improved security measures.

This, after a travel advisory against the Manila airport was issued by Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

In a statement, the DOTr said it is working with the Manila international Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Office for Transportation Security are "giving utmost priority and attention to the implementation of strict security measures" at NAIA.

"Rest assured that the government, the DOTr, the MIAA and the OTS are fully committed in employing all measures available to ensure the security and safety of the traveling public," the agency said.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also ordered the hiring of additional airport contracted guards for round-the-clock duty, re-training for long-time NAIA personnel, and new background check procedures for newly hired personnel, the DOTr said.