Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The lack of guards manning exit and entry ways, shortage of personnel conducting bag inspections, airport employees not wearing proper identification cards — these were some initial observations mentioned by the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) after the United States Transportation Security Administration (US-TSA) inspected the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last week.
Commodore Roland Recomono, OTS administrator, related one lapse that the TSA noted.
The TSA inspectors found someone without an expired identification card. They had it renewed right away.
They also spotted entrance and exit points that were not properly guarded. One solution, Recomono said, was to have some of them padlocked.
He added that the TSA inspectors admitted that they themselves have problems because of lack of personnel.
The audit team also checked NAIA’s airline operations (including terminal and ramp access control), security screening, quality control, airport perimeter, command center, and aircraft and cargo operations.
While Recomono added that what the TSA noticed were considered “minor lapses,” he cited that NAIA should also look into improving its employee screening.
Some passengers, meanwhile, said these observations should be taken seriously.
Myrna Rodriguez, for example, suggested that the airport should get more security police officers.
More time to improve
The OTS, on the other hand, gave NAIA authorities time to improve security.
Once the period has lapsed, the OTS will then make another inspection.
If it finds some things that haven’t been corrected, security personnel would be given sanctions — either a fine or maybe even suspension.
Security checks, international standards
The US-TSA holds regular security checks in airports that host airlines flying to the US. Its last inspection at NAIA in November 2013 showed that the airport met international standards.
The TSA has yet to officially submit its findings on last week’s inspection. It also plans to donate X-ray machines that can detect explosives.
In the meantime, workmen have finished repairs on the Terminal 1 ceiling that was damaged because of leaking water from a pipe.
While airport officials are on high alert following the arrest of a Filipino-American citizen who had with him a knife and grenade late May, security measures are in place to prevent the entry of passengers positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after deaths have been reported in South Korea.
Source: Patricia de Leon, CNN Philippines