House probe on NAIA bed bugs sought

Rudy Santos, Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
House probe on NAIA bed bugs sought
Photo of a waiting lounge at the departing area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
Philstar.com / Rosette Adel

MANILA, Philippines — An investigation into bed bugs plaguing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) must be conducted by the House of Representatives, according to Rep. Marissa Magsino.

House Resolution 1615 authored by Magsino urged committees of the lower chamber to conduct an inquiry into issues affecting the NAIA terminals in Pasay City.

The call for a legislative investigation comes in the wake of videos on social media of passengers complaining of bed bug bites as well as sightings of a rat and cockroaches at the country’s main gateway.

“Given the repeated problems at the NAIA and its tag as ‘one of the world’s worst airports,’ we have to look into the compounded issues, more so since NAIA has revenues to address basic operational concerns such as sanitation and congestion,” Magsino said.

“Our country’s image as a tourism destination is damaged due to the repetitive issues at the NAIA,” she added.

The House resolution emphasizes the significant role of NAIA in labor migration as air transport plays a crucial role in migration corridors between a labor-sending country such as the Philippines and the host country, Magsino noted.

Measures must be taken while plans for the NAIA’s privatization are underway to address maintenance and housekeeping deficiencies, streamline immigration processing and enhance traffic routing within the airport premises, according to Magsino.

The increasing passenger traffic at the NAIA has led to congestion. Passenger volume reportedly exceeded the airport’s capacity by 40 percent, based on records.

This led to runway congestion, delayed flights, travel inconvenience, fuel wastage and risks of missed flight schedules, especially for overseas Filipino workers.

Pest control

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Eric Ines is considering revoking the contracts of the pest control providers and housekeepers at the airport.

Ines said he met with pest control providers and housekeepers after an infestation of bed bugs and rats was posted by travelers on social media.

Private concessionaires had lapses in cleaning and properly maintaining the four terminal facilities at the NAIA, he added.

“I saw the contracts and the terms of reference. It shows they only have eight personnel handling every terminal. This is not enough. If only we could change this,” Ines said.

The airport management will prohibit passengers from putting bags or luggage on four-seater chairs.

MIAA head executive assistant Chris Noel Bendijo earlier said that Ines had ordered a review of the contracts to identify lapses.

Food concessionaires at the NAIA were reminded to maintain cleanliness.

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