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Tough U.S. audit clears NAIA

TDT

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From being a security risk in the past, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is now certified safe after a US government audit. Manila International Airport Authority general manager Ed Monreal (sixth from the left) and Office for Transportation Security Administrator Undersecretary Raul del Rosario (eighth from left) met with auditors from the Transportation Security Administration of the United States Department of Homeland Security headed by Team Leader, Jose Liriano (fifth from right, at the back) in an exit briefing to wrap-up the latest security audit of terminals and US-bound airlines operating at the NAIA. Also in the photo are TSA Inspectors Anton Kovalyov, David Whipple, Carlos Martinez (4th, 5th and 7th from the left), Joy Casey and TSA coordinator, Program Analyst Karen Dizon (8th and 7th from the right).

Inspectors from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the United States Department of Homeland Security were satisfied with the improved security measures and technology now being implemented at the country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

TSA auditors, together with National Aviation Security Auditors from the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), wrapped-up their latest security audit of terminals and US-bound airlines operating at the NAIA last Friday.

During the exit briefing hosted at the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) office, the TSA extended their gratitude to the Philippine government as it also announced that it was satisfied with the security improvements being made to assure the safety of air travel from the Philippines to the US and vice versa.

The TSA, an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security has authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States.

“Overall, there were no findings in this assessment. We appreciate the new technologies and equipment provided. We are grateful with the improvements made by the government specifically in collaboration with the OTS,” TSA Lead Inspector Jose Liriano said.

The TSA inspectors were also impressed with the use of high-technology security and screening equipment now being used at the NAIA terminals, such as the dual view x-ray machines with an automatic tray return system, which have been deemed effective in reducing the queue at the various security screening checkpoints.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade credits the significant security improvements at the NAIA to the critical coordination between the attached agencies of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) such as the MIAA and the OTS.

Tugade stressed that while the NAIA scored high during the latest security assessment made by the TSA, the improvement of security measures at the country’s premiere gateway will not stop.
“Security is a commitment, it is a continuous process,” he said.

Improvements continue

“While we are happy with this news, we must remember that the more important thing is that we sustain and consistently improve our efforts to ensure the safety and security of the passengers,” Tugade added.

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal echoed Tugade’s commitment as he welcomed the TSA’s positive report.

“This is a very welcome development. I am happy for the results of the collective efforts of the men and women of MIAA and OTS who remained relentless and committed in their jobs. We will continue to promote a strong culture of security with sustainability and consistency,” GM Monreal said.

The recent TSA security audit covered areas such as airport and aircraft security, aviation security management, landside security, passenger and baggage screening, hold baggage screening, access control, perimeter security, training of security personnel, as well as quality control measures implemented to align security programs with both national and international requirements set forth in Annex 17 or the Standard and Recommended Practices for civil aviation security.

For his part, OTS Administrator Undersecretary Raul del Rosario also assured the TSA that the DoTr will make use of the recommendations and technical assistance it has extended, to further boost security measures at the NAIA, not only for flights going to and from the US, but also for global aviation.

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