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    PH’ NAIA rescue teams passed CREX with flying colors

    October 19th, 2017

    TO ENSURE the proficiency of its rescue teams in responding to emergency situations, the Manila International Airport Authority on Thursday held the 2017 Crash and Rescue Exercise which simulated an airplane crash and passenger rescue in the country’s premier airport.

    According to MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal, last Thursday’s exercise assumed that a Clark-bound plane carrying 75 passengers and six crew on board has encountered engine trouble while takeoff and crashed at the NAIA’s Runway 13 and burst into flames. The exercise showed how the team put off the fire using a chemical foam and rescue the stricken passengers.

    YouTube Video courtesy: DOTr

    He said the exercise, which is held every two years in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Suggested and Recommended Practices (ICAO-SARPS), showed that the NAIA responded well beyond the time required by ICAO.

    Monreal said the minimum response time of NAIA should be within five minutes but last Thursday exercise showed that the responders arrived at the crash site from the NAIA’s Fire and Rescue building in only two minutes, way beyond the time requirements set by ICAO.

    At the same time, Monreal said fire and rescue teams from different fire stations outside the NAIA also volunteered to participate during the exercise.

    Among those who witnessed Thursday’s CREX were the different government and private agencies, including military units, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Pasay City local government, Office for Transportation Security, and Department of Transportation.

    Meanwhile, the Monreal disclosed that the MIAA has in its lists a fleet of nine fire trucks, each with the capacity of carrying at least 3,000 gallons of water or an aggregate capacity of 15,000 gallons of water, aside from 500 pounds of dry chemicals each fire truck carries.

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    PH’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport no longer one of the world’s worst

    October 18th, 2017

    The Ninoy Aquino International Airport ©

    THE reforms made at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have finally bore fruit as it is now no longer considered as one of the world’s top 20 worst airports.

    According to the Manila Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Wednesday, the latest survey of the travel website “The Guide To Sleeping In Airports” published on October 15, no longer includes the country’s premier airport as among the 20 worst airports in the world.

    Moreover, the NAIA is also no longer included in the list of the top five worst airports in Asia of the same travel website.

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    MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said that among the reforms implemented during the Duterte administration were the restriction on general aviation to prioritize commercial flights and reduce flight delays.

    The imposition of the five-minute rule (where pilots who declare they are ready to take off must depart within the prescribe time or they would be put back at the back of the queue) to reduce flight delays and instill discipline among airlines.

    The construction of Rapid Exit Taxiways to allow an aircraft to leave the runway at higher speed and increase flight movements; provision of cleaner toilets, additional seats, free WiFi, and well-wishers’ area.

    Regular taxis (white taxis) were also allowed to queue and pick-up passengers at designated points in NAIA terminals to address shortage of taxi units servicing passengers.

    “We are happy to hear the recent development. However, the bigger challenge now is on how we can maintain or even surpass this achievement. We are only good as the last race. The task ahead is enormous, we are wishing to be part of the list of best airports in the future,” Monreal stressed.

    In the past, NAIA has consistently made the list of world’s worst airports where travelers rate airports based on their overall airport experience.

    Some of the traveler’s complaints are long queues, broken toilets and air-conditioning units, as well as dishonest taxi pricing and limited public transport options have constantly plagued the NAIA thus earned the “world’s worst airport” title from 2011 to 2013.

    In 2014, it landed in the 4th place. It was not included in the top 10 worst airports in the world in 2015, but landed 8th worst airport in Asia.

    The October 2016 survey where NAIA landed 5th place as world’s worst airports was attributed to the issue of “laglag-bala,” which was among the complaint of travelers especially overseas Filipino workers, but was later addressed after the term of the Aquino administration.

    Meanwhile, four Philippine airports have again joined the list of the top 25 best airports in Asia for this year — Iloilo International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Clark International Airport, and Davao International Airport.


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    PH’ Iloilo International Airport resumes operations

    October 16th, 2017

    The Cebu Pacific’s Airbus 320 that overshot the Iloilo International Airport runway. Image ©

    THE Philippines’ Iloilo International Airport has resumed operations Monday afternoon after being closed since late Friday night due to a stuck Cebu Pacific’s plane which overshot the runway allegedly due to increment weather.

    Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) spokesman Eric Apolonio said the agency lifted the closure notice at 2p.m. after it declared that the runway usable and safe for aircraft flight operations.

    He added the stricken Airbus 320, which was stuck in mud and the grassy portion of the Runway 20, was removed shortly before noon and towed to a nearby hangar for further inspection.

    On Sunday, the well-equipped fire and rescue team of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which have lifting bags, flew to Iloilo airport to help in the recovery of the aircraft. However, the team encountered problems as the area is too muddy and the inclement weather in the area made it difficult to remove the damaged plane (CEB 5J641) from the mud.

    The wheels of the aircraft was stuck in at least 20-inch of mud, the CAAP said.

    The IIA, which is one of the airports under CAAP supervision, handles 42 flights a day (20 departures, 20 arrivals and two international flights).

    Meanwhile, CAB Charo Logarta said they have yet to assess the damage saying experts from Airbus will do the assessment. Its priority is to clear runway and open the Iloilo airport.

    At the same time, the CAB has expressed their gratitude to the CAAP, the MIAA, the local government of Iloilo and other partners for their assistance.

    “We also thank our passengers for their patience and understanding, and the public for their support,” the airline said in a statement.

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    Iloilo International Airport to remain closed until Sunday night

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    Iloilo International Airport to remain closed until Sunday night

    October 14th, 2017

    A Cebu Pacific plane reportedly veered from the runway of Iloilo International Airport last Friday. Nobody was hurt. Screen shot from Facebook post of JP Janolino Peñol /

    ILOILO International Airport will remain closed until Sunday evening as investigators are still on site recovering the Cebu Pacific Air aircraft that overshot the runway late Friday night.

    According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), equipment are still being flown in from Manila while investigators, including members of the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board members, and a recovery team are working on the stricken plane.

    No one from the 188 passengers and crew of CEB flight 5J641 on board an Airbus 320 were hurt during the accident, the CAAP, in a statement, said.

    Records showed that while the plane was touching down from Manila, its nose gear landed on a soft spot at the end of Runway 20 causing it to veer off from its intended path.

    Investigators believed that the soft spot was brought about by the heavy rains and strong winds that pummeled the airport shortly before the plane landed after 11 pm.

    Local airport authorities immediately sent a rescue team who brought all on board the plane to safety.

    As a consequence of the accident, all scheduled flights for October 14 and 15 were canceled.

    As the closure of the airport was extended another day from Saturday, the CAAP said the airport will be ready for operation by 7 pm. on Sunday.

    The CEB management, on the other hand, have yet to assess the damage caused by the accident to the aircraft.

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    Suspicious bag disrupts plane’s Davao flight

    October 13th, 2017

    A Cebu Pacific Air plane taking off Photo ©

    A CEBU Pacific flight bound for Davao on Thursday was delayed for over an hour due to the discovery of an unattended bag inside the plane causing inconvenience to its passengers.

    Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) Flight 5J963 was supposed to depart the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 8:30 a.m. but failed to do so because its passengers were asked to disembark as a precautionary measure while security personnel check the “suspicious backpack” inside the plane.

    A few minutes after the passengers have disembarked, a lady passenger showed up and claimed ownership of the bag. It turned out that she not able to make it to the boarding gate on time.

    According to airport authorities, a ground crew brought the passenger’s bag inside the plane while the passenger was still at the airline counter making some payments. It is not clear if the ground crew informed the cabin crew about the bag they brought in and placed in the plane’s passenger seat.

    Since the plane’s arrival to Davao was delayed, its return flight to Manila was also delayed as a consequence.

    Meanwhile, CEB management apologized to all affected passengers due to the incident.

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    A suspect in the fatal hazing of a law student back in PH

    October 10th, 2017

    Ralph Trangia escorted by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Photo ©

    ONE of the principal suspects in the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas College of Law student Horacio Castillo III has returned to the country from the United States “to face the allegations and to prove his innocence.”

    Ralph Trangia, through his lawyer Rowell Ilagan, issued this statement shortly after he and his mother Rosemarie arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shortly before noon on Monday on board EVA Air flight BR271.

    Ilagan said Trangia’s original intention is to go back to the country when he left for the United States last month.

    “When they purchased the (plane) ticket, they have the return ticket. So, the purchase of the ticket coupled with the actual return today is actually a clear manifestation that they want to voluntary submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of our legal process,” Ilagan told reporters.

    When asked why did Trangia left for the Unites States on early morning of September 19 amid the investigation of the death of Castillo, Ilagan said “those matters will be threshed out during the preliminary investigation. We cannot really say at this moment, so we don’t want to influence directly the decision of the prosecutors.”

    “We just want to thresh out all of our defenses in our counter affidavit during the preliminary investigation,” he added.

    Ilagan was also asked if there are plans for the Horacio family to meet with the Castillos to which he replied: “We have yet to discuss those things and in the meantime, we want the safety and security of our client.”

    Trangia is among the 17 individuals who are facing complaints of murder and violation of the anti-hazing law before the Department of Justice.

    Castillo, a freshman law student, is believed to have been a victim of the brutal initiation rites of Trangia’s Aegis Juris fraternity.

    The Manila Police Department and the Castillo’s parents, Horacio II and Carmina, have filed murder, anti-hazing, robbery, and obstruction of justice raps against Trangia and other members of the fraternity. They also filed a separate obstruction of justice complaint against his mother.

    Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II disclosed receiving information that “US authorities are preparing to deport him (Trangia). So I believe he opted to return voluntarily rather than be deported.”

    Aguirre, however, said the DOJ is willing to offer protection for Trangia “if he asks for it.”

    The DOJ will resume its preliminary investigation on October 24, where the respondents are expected to file their defense through counter-affidavits.


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    Binay flew to Taiwan after being allowed by the anti-graft court

    October 9th, 2017

    Former VP Jejomar Binay Sr. Photo ©

    FORMER Vice President Jejomar Binay left for Taiwan on Monday after being allowed by the Sandiganbayan to travel abroad even as he faces multiple graft charges.

    Armed with a travel authorization from the anti-graft court’s 3rd Division, Binay, together with former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, and former Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) board member Jose Tanso left for Taipeh for a Wednesday speaking engagement.

    Tanso said they were invited by the Prospect Foundation of Taiwan to be the keynote speakers as Taiwan celebrates its national day on October 10 to October 12.

    Binay will be the morning speaker on October 11 while Guingona will deliver his speech in the evening of the same date.

    Yasay, meanwhile, will deliver an inspirational talk the following day, Tanso said. He added that the trip will help improve the relations of the Philippines with its neighboring countries like Taiwan.

    After his Taipeh visit, Binay will proceed to the former British crown colony of Hong Kong for a brief vacation. He will return to the country on October 17.

    Binay is facing four graft cases, one count of malversation of public funds and nine counts of falsification for the alleged anomalous construction of Makati City Hall parking building.

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    Girlfriend of Las Vegas shooter was in the PH at the time of shooting

    October 4th, 2017

    PHILIPPINE immigration authorities on Wednesday have confirmed that Marilou Danley, the girlfriend of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, was in the country and left for the United States on Tuesday.

    Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Division chief Red Marinas said the 62-year old Danley boarded the 9 pm. Philippine Airlines flight PR102 bound for Los Angeles. He also said that based on the BI records, Danley arrived in the country from Japan on September 15. She then flew to Hong Kong a week later and returned on Sept. 25.

    Marinas said the bureau’s role in this instance is “to help the US government to monitor the movement (of Danley) at the airport, and to give them information about a person who arrived from their homeland and left for United States.”

    He also said that the BI has already informed the US Homeland Security about the Australian citizenship of Danley.

    “I think the US Homeland Security is already waiting for her at the Los Angeles Airport,” the BI official said.

    Earlier, BI officials refused to confirm nor deny that Danley is in the Philippines saying that they are not inclined to release any information about her or answer queries if she is in the country because she was cleared by American authorities in connection with the Las Vegas shooting and is not an international fugitive.

    According to US news reports, Danley was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting. The news also reported that Paddock had sent $100,000 to the Philippines the week before the shooting.


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    Vegas shooter wired $100K to girlfriend before rampage

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    Bureau of Customs-NAIA to exceed collection target – Commissioner Isidro Lapeña

    September 28th, 2017

    Image ©

    WITH the operation of the new x-ray machines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña expects to more than meet this year’s target revenue of PhP50.1 billion for the country’s premier gateway.

    Lapeña said with the new x-ray machines, taxable items can be easily detected as well as drugs and guns hidden on luggage and balikbayan boxes without opening them.

    The former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general, who inaugurated the new x-ray machines to signal the start of its operations, said a total of 19 units, costing PhP172 million will be assigned the NAIA terminals.

    “These are advance units. We will be able to improve the facilitation of luggage and at the same time, every box or bag would be subjected to thorough inspections.”

    District III Collector Ed Macabeo said that two units and one unit of brand new Rapiscan x-ray machines are now installed at NAIA Terminal 1 and 3 respectively.

    Sixteen x-rays machines will be installed at the three terminals of NAIA while two mobile x-ray machines will be utilized to check personal belongings and luggage of VIPs and celebrities, especially those with chartered flights and whose aircraft are parked at the remote parking of NAIA terminals.

    Macabeo pointed out that their collection target during the lean month was a whopping P3 billion per month, 11 percent deficit on monthly target collection of P4.2 billion.

    Nevertheless, there was time that they hit the target collection during the month of February, March and May, he added.

    “We made it, and even exceeded from the target despite that the port is not so big like the other port such as the Manila International Container Port and the Port of Manila,” Macabeo insists.

    Six months ago, NAIA came up with a policy not to open or subject to inspection the check-in luggage of passengers unless it was marked “X” indicating it may contain taxable items.

    The bureau has designated two lanes – red and green – for passengers and crew of arriving international flights to choose where to exit.

    The green lane is designated for passengers and crew who have nothing to declare or have no goods for purposes of import duties and taxes, with goods that can be admitted free of import duties and taxes or do not carry any goods which are subject to import prohibition, restriction and regulation.

    The red lane, on the other hand, is intended for passengers of international airlines with goods to declare for purposes of import duties or taxes, those with goods above the exempted Customs limits, or carrying goods or articles prohibited, controlled or regulated by several statues.

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    Unpleasant things await erring PH Bureau of Customs personnel

    September 25th, 2017

    Newly appointed Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña Photo ©

    NEWLY appointed Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña on Monday warns that something unpleasant will happen to personnel who do not make the proper valuation of goods.

    “I know arithmetic, as I know the correct valuation of goods. If any of you who does not want to follow the proper valuation you are giving me the reason to do that you don’t want to happen to you,” Lapeña, without elaborating, said.

    Lapeña issued the notice during the 57th Founding Anniversary of the BoC at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), where he disclosed that his marching order from Malacañang is to stop corruption in the bureau as well as to improve its revenue earnings.

    The former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general also took the opportunity to remind the BoC rank and file that the “tara” bribery system is illegal.

    At the same time, Lapeña honored the BoC’s NAIA District Collector III Ed Macabeo, who is retiring this month, by awarding him a Plaque of Appreciation for the good work he has done for the bureau.

    Meanwhile, Lapeña announced that there are 587 BoC positions awaiting qualified personnel and those who have been with the BoC for over a decade.

    It will be recalled that former BoC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon blocked the promotions in the bureau and appealed to (government) officials to stop meddling in the bureau’s appointments, citing it as a form of corruption. Without naming them, he said some government officials want to influence the promotion board of the BoC.

    He also said the bureau will start hiring workers to man at the country’s premier airport.

    The promotion and hiring programs that Lapeña had planned aims to strengthen the bureau’s ranks and increase their revenue while combating corruption. It is also meant to improve the services of the BoC and its embattled image among Filipinos and foreigners alike.


    PH airport authorities preparing to receive hurricane Irma evacuees

    September 20th, 2017

    Hurricane Irma as it pummels Puerto Rico Photo ©

    THE Manila International Airport Authority is preparing to receive Filipinos fleeing from the devastation brought about by hurricane Irma in the American territory of Puerto Rico.

    The MIAA said at least 132 Filipinos are expected to arrive Wednesday night on board a Department of Foreign Affairs chartered Philippine Airlines flight. Among the expected evacuees are three expecting mothers, two elderly, an infant and a wheelchair bound passenger.

    The evacuees, the MIAA said, availed of the repatriation program offered by the Philippine government. The evacuees are said to have lost their properties because of hurricane Irma.

    Hurricane Irma was described as “extremely dangerous” when it landfall in the island of Barbuda on September 6, and barreled its way across the Caribbean.

    Reports said there were about more than 150,000 Filipinos that were badly affected by hurricane Irma.


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    Airport transport service starts mobile booking

    September 11th, 2017

    TRAVELERS can now request and book an airport public transport vehicle through mobile booking app, the first internet-based booking application in the operation of accredited land transportation service at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) similar to that being used by other transportation network companies.

    The new system, formally launched by Airport Shuttle Service, Inc (ASSI) on Monday, aims to provide the riding public more convenience and safer as their trips are being monitored from boarding to point of destination.

    “Our riding public will now be more comfortable and secured in booking their ride to their intended destination with this new mobile booking app in place. Travelers can access and download ASSI booking app thru Google Play,” Romeo Sayaman, ASSI chairman and president, said.

    Sayaman added there will be no more hassle on the part of the riding public because “there will no longer be burdened with hailing taxi cabs and haggling with solicitors and most importantly, they are assured of no overcharging and no surging fares. Fixed rates prescribed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are flashed. No additional fees are charged for its use.”

    ASSI is one of the land transport service providers accredited by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to exclusively operate within the airport premises.

    MIAA transport concessionaires complied with the MIAA rigid requirements – paying concession fees, utilizing only LTFRB-franchised and Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited company vehicles, tourist-plate vehicles with MIAA stickers and duly covered by comprehensive and passenger insurance.

    The drivers, on the other hand, must first undergo DOT as well as Airport Police Department (APD) seminars before the MIAA provide accreditation and allow them to operate the airport transport units.

    “Definitely no colorum vehicles will be deployed. All of them are properly identified,” Sayaman stressed.

    He added, “in support of GM Eddie V. Monreal’s relentless efforts to improve the image of the country’s premiere airport and at the same time encouraging the people working and serving at NAIA to improve it from the list of “worst” airports in the global travelers’ survey, ASSI is proud to be the first MIAA transport concessionaire to respond to this drive.”

    The transport executive further said this Filipino ingenuity initiative is part of ASSI’s commitment in helping MIAA addresses not only the transportation inadequacies but also modernizing the transportation activities within its premises as well as ridding the premier airport from all kinds of illegal transaction.

    “As technology becomes more readily available to average smart phone users, ASSI creates this smart phone-based technology for vehicle booking app, similar to that being used by UBER, GRAB and others. This initiative is also in consonance with LTFRB’s direction of encouraging the use of advanced technologies and innovations for all forms of public land transport,” Sayaman said.

    ASSI has deployed at least 25 vehicles in four NAIA terminals approved by LTFRB.

    Aside from Metro Manila mobile booking, the passengers can also book online for provinces such as Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bagiuo, and Batangas unlike Uber and Grab which limited to Metro Manila.

    Monreal, who has supported the ASSI’s upgrade welcomes the new development “provided it is legal.” He explained the MIAA will still be checking the mobile booking application if it contains safety features for the riding public.

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    Colorum vehicles apprehended at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport

    September 7th, 2017

    PHILIPPINE airport authorities on Thursday said they have impounded 30 out of line or “colorum” vehicles operating in the country’s premier airport since the anti-colorum drive was launched early last month.

    Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said they were able to identify the colorum vehicles and apprehend their drivers with the help of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board operatives.

    Monreal said 16 of the colorum vehicles, which is comprised of 14 regular taxi cabs and two Grab units, were impounded at the old Nayong Pilipino and later turned over to the LTFRB. He added that one Grab unit was issued by an ordinance violation receipt while nine other vehicles were turned over to the Land Transportation Office.

    “There will be a process. After investigation, and if found guilty, owners and operators of these vehicles will be slapped with a minimum of P120,000 fine. The proceed will go to the LTFRB,” Monreal told reporters.

    MIAA GM Ed Monreal Photo ©

    The MIAA executive also said apart from colorum vehicles, the MIAA and LTFRB personnel also apprehended 420 other traffic violators for various offenses since August 9 to September 5 this year.

    The MIAA chief appealed to passengers not to deal with solicitors and keep away from unmarked vehicles to avoid being victimized by unscrupulous drivers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    Monreal said MIAA’s August 8 MoA with the LTFRB aims to improve public transport services at the airport through the stricter implementation of national traffic management rules and regulation. It was also meant to stop the operation of colorums in the four NAIA terminals.

    Under the agreement, the LTFRB will assist the MIAA enforcement units in implementing existing laws, rules and regulations within the vicinity of MIAA.

    The agreement also includes the imposition of LTFRB Standard Fare Rates on Vehicle-For-Hire Service.

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    Free flights for soldiers wounded in Marawi

    September 5th, 2017

    A Cebu Pacific Air plane taking off Photo ©

    THE Cebu Pacific Air on Monday has airlifted without cost to their respective units in different parts of the country the first batch of convalescing troopers who were wounded during the Marawi siege in preparation for their return to full combat duty.

    CEB Communications Director Charo Logarta said at least 11 army men took CEB flights from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Pagadian, and Cotabato.

    According to Lt. Col. Ray Tiongo those who took the CEB flights have already been released from confinement at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. He added that they will be going back soon for debriefing session in preparation for their return to active service.

    Tiongco said the Philippine Army command is thankful for “this kind of gesture of support for our soldiers who are now returning to their respective units for combat. It is meaningful gesture to make your soldiers feel that their sacrifices are being recognized and appreciated.”

    He added that recovering government troops who are fit enough for commercial flights can be accommodated on Cebu Pacific flights from Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan Airport) or Manila, and flown to any of the 37 domestic destinations of CEB.

    On top of the free flights, the wounded-in-action soldiers were provided by CEB with a 40 kilograms of baggage allowance each.

    A similar program for members of the other services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, who are deployed to Mindanao or flying within Mindanao, is being implemented. To avail of the free CEB flights, soldiers or policemen should show valid Mission Orders and Armed Forces of the Philippines or PNP Identification Cards.

    Aside from airlifting the government troops free of charge, CEB is also airlifting cargo of relief goods and other humanitarian assistance for affected Marawi residents.

    Logarta said “CEB will continue to provide free cargo for relief goods (such as food and water, medicines, bandages, clothing and other necessities) and other essential items for displaced residents of Marawi City and adjacent areas from various organizations, most notably the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”

    The airline has also provided equipment support to the Office of Civil Defense in the transport of humanitarian assistance.


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    PAL working to expand NAIA’s Terminal 2

    August 31st, 2017

    Entrance to the old Nayong Pilipino complex Image ©

    THE Philippine Airlines is proposing to lease a government property adjacent to Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in a bid to expand the terminal’s building and increase its capacity.

    The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) welcomes the proposal but noted that the said property being eyed for development by PAL is mired in a long standing legal case. It, however, added that it would forward the proposal to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for a viability study.

    The property concerned is owned by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and administered by the MIAA. Records also showed that on July 2, 2012, the Nayong Pilipino Foundation formally turned over the administration of 22.3 hectares land of Nayong Pilipino to the MIAA.

    Any offer of partnership to improve Terminal 2 is a welcome move. We are happy that Philippine Airlines’ offer is aligned to the government’s own plan to improve the said terminal. While this option can be explored, progress of any discussion in this regard is remote at this time because the area being considered is subject of a long standing legal case,” the MIAA said.

    The MIAA added that if the property is improved and developed, it would be a big boost for the government.

    Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista ©Photographer: Stefen Chow/Bloomberg News

    PAL President Jaime Bautista made the proposal to develop the 16-hectare land adjoining NAIA Terminal 2, where the old Nayong Pilipino and the defunct Philippine Village Hotel used to stand, during a membership meeting of Management Association of the Philippines early this week. He said the terminal would be designed to handle 12 to 15 million passengers a year and would have aero bridges capable of serving 12 to 17 wide-bodied and single aisle jets.

    Bautista also disclosed that an 89,000 square-meter annex building will rise on the said property adding that aside from the passenger terminal, the complex will include multi-level parking for 1,000 vehicles, a new cargo terminal and ground service facilities.

    The proposed air terminal would help decongest the airport and provide passengers much-deserved space, amenities and modern conveniences, Bautista insisted.

    The NAIA terminal 2, which PAL has been using exclusively since 1999, has far exceeded its maximum capacity of nine million passengers a year as it was originally built as a domestic airport during the Ramos administration.

    The Philippine flag carrier is keen on the annex building project to consolidate its operations and provide adequate room for its growing fleet of jets and international and domestic passengers.

    From its current fleet of 87 wide-bodied and single aisle jets, PAL expects its aircraft count to reach 96 by 2021.

    Bautista stressed that it needs government’s full support, especially in securing crucial land leases from agencies like the MIAA and PAGCOR.

    In response, the MIAA said “We assure Philippine Airlines that we are always open to initiatives that will redound to the best interest of Terminal 2 users.”

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    MIAA official linked to smuggling at BoC

    August 22nd, 2017

    Mark Ruben Taguba II reacts during questioning at the resumption of hearing of the 6.4 Billion pesos shabu shipment from China in the Senate on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

    AFTER being accused of receiving bribes from a custom’s broker during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation of the alleged P6.4 billion worth of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) smuggling at the Bureau of Customs, a ranking Manila International Airport Authority official suddenly became media shy.

    Reporters covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport repeatedly failed to get the side of MIAA Assistant General Manager for Security and Emergency Services Alex Capuyan after he was accused by Mark Taguba of regularly receiving payola from him when he was still with the BoC and part of the Davao operations group.

    Capuyan’s MIAA staff said their boss is on an official meeting whenever reporters tried to interview him.

    Taguba, who reportedly facilitated the May 23 entry of the more than P6 billion worth of shabu in the country which was tracked and seized by the authorities two days later in a warehouse in Valenzuela City, told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing that Capuyan’s Davao group received almost P10,000 for every container that slipped through. He added that he personally met Capuyan, who is also allegedly also known as “Big Brother,” as he is the one who usually made the transactions.

    The young custom’s broker also told the senators about the alleged involvement in his operation of Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera, a certain Tita Nani, and one named Jack, who is said to be the handler of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte. He said he initially gave Jack and Councilor Abellera P5 million as “enrollment fee” and P1 million every week thereafter so he could operate freely.

    Taguba clarified that he never met Vice Mayor Duterte even after Jack and Councilor Abellera claimed they are collecting money for him. He also noted that after their agreement, his container vans were never “alerted” by the BoC.

    Taguba, during a separate investigation of the House of Representatives, said he handled 500 shipments (containers) from May to March and gave P13.5 million in bribes at P27,000 per container. He said he does not know that the May 23 shipment contained shabu. It was the Chinese Customs authorities who alerted the BoC of the shabu shipment.

    He also told lawmakers that the said shipment was processed by the BoC through its green or express lane.

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    Baggage handlers and ramp workers at NAIA to be subjected to rigorous security monitoring

    August 14th, 2017

    NAIA baggage handlers to be subjected to stricter security measures ©

    THE Manila International Airport Authority on Saturday has directed all ground handling firms, airlines, and service providers to submit monthly reports on all incidence of baggage pilferage in a bid to weed out scalawags in the premiere airport.

    The MIAA’s move came in the heels of the embarrassing loss to thieves of a jewelry box in a checked in luggage of the wife of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Hulya, last August 4.

    Mr. and Ms. Mevlut Cavusoglu Photo ©

    The loss of the jewelry was discovered following Ms. Cavusoglu’s return to Turkey after she accompanied her husband to the foreign minister’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states in Manila.

    Four baggage handlers were arrested by Philippine authorities following an official complaint from the Turkish embassy. Ms. Cavosoglu’s missing jewelry were allegedly found and recovered from the baggage handler’s lockers.

    “They should understand why we finally have to do this. We have always been consultative with them, they know that. But the recent incident is the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak,” said MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal.

    Monreal, a former Cathay Pacific Airline station manager, said all concerned parties should immediately implement the directive as MIAA is only exercising its powers, functions and duties vested to it by Executive Order 778 or the MIAA Charter in consonance with Administrative Order 151.

    MIAA GM Ed Monreal Photo ©

    Monreal explained that the pilferage of Ms. Cavusoglu’s made the rules implementation mandatory. He noted that “more often than not,” the MIAA security office always receive a cold shoulder from airlines, ground handlers and service providers whenever they sought help in obtaining information that could help in case build up.

    Aside from the regular submission of reports, Monreal said, intensified guarding of luggage on departure and arrival, and consistent frisking of all ramp personnel will be implemented. He also reminded all concerned about the strict adherence to the No/Pockets/No Jewelry/No Watch Policy at the ramp.

    Furthermore, the ground handlers and service providers were urged to conduct background checks on workers they employ, Monreal said.

    Moreover, The MIAA has summoned all records relating to pre-employment checks and verification made by said companies.

    “I expect everybody’s full cooperation. I strongly urge that you come up with policies and procedures to clean your ranks so we can achieve order in our airport,” Monreal told representatives from airlines, service providers and ground handling firms during its recent meeting.

    At the same time, Monreal, directed the MIAA’s administrators to closely monitor MIAA employees and other “job order” personnel whose work require them to be at the ramp area.

    Private security agencies employed by MIAA  who are guarding the ramp gates are also to be monitored.

    Monreal warned that “The MIAA shall exercise its authority under existing laws, over those who will not cooperate. This could mean revocation of your privilege to operate in NAIA or termination of your accreditation with us.”

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    BoC foiled a suspected smuggling attempt at NAIA by a Chinese tourist

    August 12th, 2017

    BUREAU of Customs agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday foiled an alleged attempt by a Chinese tourist to smuggle into the Philippines 30 pieces of Apple iPhone 7 Plus cellular phones with an estimated market value of P1.35 million.

    BoC District III Collector Ed Macabeo said Su Miaoquiao, who flew in from Xiamen, failed to declare the numerous communication devices he is bringing into the country even after some irregularities were observed by BoC officers while inspecting his luggage through an x-ray machine.

    Macabeo decided to ope the bag and discovered the phones which were packed in plastic in an apparent attempt to conceal them from prying eyes.

    “The importation of smartphone is considered legal if the importer declared it as taxable items and can present the proper national Telecommunications Commission (NTC) import permit to the Customs authorities,” said Maj. Jaybee Raul Cometa of the X-ray Inspection Project.

    The cellphones were seized and Miaoquiao was allowed to proceed into the country. However, he will face prosecution for failing to make the proper declaration as he violated the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the NTC regulation concerning importation permits, Cometa added.

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    Stiffer fines for colorums at NAIA

    August 8th, 2017

    The Ninoy Aquino International Airport ©

    EFFECTIVE immediately out of line or “colorum” public utility vehicles at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be impounded and stiffer fines imposed on their operators.

    This was learned on Tuesday shortly after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) which aims to stop the operation of “colorums” in the four NAIA terminals.

    MIAA GM Ed Monreal Photo ©

    MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said the agreement will improve public transport services at the airport through the stricter implementation of national traffic management rules and regulation.

    Monreal said airport policemen will implement the national policy mandating the apprehension of “colorum” vehicles. He added that instead of the usual P1,000 fines, colorum operators will now be meted fines ranging from P120,000 to P200,000.

    Under the agreement, the LTFRB will assist the MIAA law enforcement units in implementing existing laws, rules and regulations within the vicinity of MIAA. The agreement also will include the imposition of LTFRB Standard Fare Rates on Vehicle-For-Hire Service.

    The installation of GPS Device to all PUB Service Units, the yearly issuance of Certificate of Public Convenience and Sticker and the imposition of penalties for submitting fake or spurious documents, and other kinds of misrepresentations were also agreed upon.

    Meanwhile, LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III said the MOA “will promote cooperation and coordination in the monitoring and enforcement of public land transportation laws, national and airport traffic laws and other traffic regulations at NAIA.”

    Delgra noted that the agreement reiterates that the function of the LTFRB is to coordinate and cooperate with other government agencies and entities concerned with any aspect involving public land transportation services with the end in view of effecting continuing improvement of such services.

    He also said that it further affirms that the MIAA is the mandated government corporate agency responsible for the operation and management of the country’s premiere airport hub and complex that promotes international and domestic air traffic in the Philippines.

    As this developed, Monreal disclosed that at least two “colorum” vehicles plying at the NAIA are being apprehended monthly. He added that aside from out of line vehicles, there are also 400 apprehensions for various violations of public utility vehicles every month.

    Most of the violations committed are overcharging, contracting and malfunctioning of taxi meters.

    At the same time, Monreal appealed to passengers to avoid dealing with solicitors and keep away from unmarked vehicles. He also advised passengers to report any abusive drivers who take advantage while on a trip.

    Monreal said all apprehensions of public utility vehicles (PUVs) by MIAA policemen will be reported to the LTFRB for proper disposition.

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    INTERPOL led PH customs officers to a suspected drug mule at the NAIA

    August 1st, 2017

    Image ©

    A TIMELY tip from the International Police led Philippine authorities to arrest on Monday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport a 50-year old Bolivian who was caught with suspected liquid cocaine concealed in her winter jacket.

    Maria Hinojosa Bazan was placed under arrest shortly after the suspected contraband was discovered in her checked-in baggage by Bureau of Customs agents. She had just arrived at about 6:49 pm. from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on board Ethiopian Airlines and was about to retrieve her luggage from NAIA Terminal 1 when she was subjected to a spot check.

    Customs officials inspect the belongings of Bolivian Maria Hinojosa Bazan who was intercepted with undetermined amount of liquid cocaine on Monday night. Photo © Benjie L. Vergara

    BOC District III Collector Ed Macabeo said the bureau received information from the Interpol that a Bolivian traveler, who is a suspected drug courier, will be arriving from Ethiopia with undetermined volume of prohibited drugs.

    He added that Bazan had already retrieved her luggage from the Customs area when members of the Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Force Group (IADTIG) – Custom Executive Officer Sherwin Andrada, agent Ernesto Pracale, Customs Examiners Jericho Flores, Anthony Relucio and Custom supervisor Beth Pableo and Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) personnel – stopped her for baggage inspection.

    Macabeo said Bazan did not declared any items on her Customs declaration form even after the authorities asked her to fill it out because all her belongings will undergo rigid inspection. He added that during the inspection, BoC and PDEA personnel found a white liquid substance in her four winter jackets, which, after a series to tests, turned out to be cocaine.

    Bazan and the seized liquid stuff were immediately turned over to PDEA for proper disposition.

    Meanwhile, Macabeo assured the public that members of the IADITG are strictly monitoring every passenger arriving at the NAIA terminals.

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