THE United States’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday lifted the “public advisory” regarding security conditions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of Homeland Security, has ordered the immediate “rescission of the public notice regarding security conditions at NAIA” that was issued in December 2018.
The DHS said the notice was issued “after multiple assessments of MNL (Manila) identified a failure to adequately implement and maintain international security standards and recommended practices” established by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“After months of direct engagement with the United States, the government of the Philippines has made significant improvements to the security operations tions of MNL,” it noted in a statement.
“The DHS and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) remain committed to working with the government of the Philippines to help ensure a strong security at MNL and enhance global aviation security,” the DHS said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. welcomed the lifting of the public advisory as he lauded US Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Sung, Philippine Transportation Secretary Arthur “Art” Tugade and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez for their help to improve NAIA security.
“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 (Department of Transportation) Sec Tugade for doing in 6 months what US Homeland expected would take years. What a winning team,” Locsin said on Twitter.
Kim also tweeted, “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.”
Romualdez said the DHS and the TSA “informed us that the NAIA is much improved now. Our US friends are extremely pleased with our cooperation.”
The US State Department provided $5 million to help fund airport security improvements at the NAIA, including training and technology.
The TSA also sent aviation security advisors to the Philippines to assist with the development and implementation of “corrective” security measures such as analysis of security operations, recommendations on technology use and maintenance, streamline screening operations and modernizing NAIA’s security infrastructure.
Locsin also tweeed, “In DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), thank you Honey Isleta of American Affairs for not letting up with US Homeland in bilaterals that it’s gonna lift the restriction on travel to NAIA. Awesome.”
“I never had to worry. I knew Art Tugade would get it done in record time. It’s his trademark. It it’s not already done, it will be tomorrow, not later,” he said.