A security guard inspects a vehicle entering the NAIA Terminal 1 yesterday. Following the advisory of the US Homeland Security’s TSA, stricter security measures have been implemented at the NAIA, resulting in longer inspection times and traffic buildup on roads leading to the terminals.
Rudy Santos
Tighter security causes traffic jams at NAIA
Rudy Santos, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Stricter inspection of vehicles entering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport – in response to a security alert from the United States – has led to long lines of cars around the NAIA, sparking both anger and concern over terrorism among travelers.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal said security concerns are being addressed as well as some inconvenience to motorists and visitors spawned by the heightened security measures recommended by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the US Department of Homeland Security.

“There is no cause for alarm even as we put in place enhancements following the recommendations of the TSA. There is nothing among these recommendations that cannot be addressed – we can do it,” he said.

Monreal said security improvements are not intended to burden passengers as they are “being done to ensure a secured flight for everyone as we are closely working with US TSA.”

He also revealed giving instruction to the security and finance administration team to expedite the hiring of additional security personnel to address the concerns of the TSA.

“We therefore strongly appeal to all to cooperate with security enhancements that we are now undertaking and submit themselves to security inspection when warranted,” Monreal added.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), for its part, said it welcomed initiatives to further upgrade security at the NAIA.

“The government’s pro-active airport initiatives resulted in NAIA successfully passing a comprehensive ICAO security audit last September, and we are confident that they will undertake the remaining improvements necessary to complete the US security audit with flying colors in the months ahead,” PAL said.

“In the meantime, we have augmented special screening procedures in line with US requirements at NAIA Terminal 2 for our US-bound flights, for the benefit of the traveling public. Our ongoing expansion of flights to US destinations will proceed as planned,” it added. 

In a Twitter post Thursday night, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the DHS advisory was on airport security and not on the safety of foreign nationals in the country.

“It has nothing to do with the safety in the Philippine countryside and cities,” Locsin said. “It is about aviation security. You know about terrorists not getting into planes and sowing terrorism in the air and other countries,” he said.

The DHS on Wednesday directed US airlines bound for the Philippines to alert their passengers on the deficiency of security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

It said Manila, which is a last-point-of-departure airport for flights to the US, “does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

The advisory was based on assessments by a team of security experts from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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