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House to probe Naia issue on Sept. 5

01:54 PM August 20, 2018

The House of Representatives committee on transportation will conduct a motu propio investigation on Sept. 5 into the recent incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) that left thousands of passengers stranded.

Transportation panel chairman Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento said this in a phone interview with reporters on Monday.

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Sarmiento said officials of the Manila International Airport Authority will also be summoned to explain the incident and discuss its possible damages to the Philippine economy.

On Thursday night, Xiamen Air Flight MF8667 skidded off the runway, prompting delays in and cancellations of several international and local flights, and leaving thousands of passengers stranded at Naia.

READ: Naia chaos brings misery to thousands of passengers

A separate inquiry into the incident has also been sought in the Senate.

READ: Poe seeks ‘full-blown’ probe on Naia runway incident

Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winston Castelo, chair of the committee on Metro Manila development, welcomed the inquiry, saying the country “could not remain an international embarrassment in the face of the world.”

“The one running the airport should be held accountable administratively, if not criminally…” he also said in a press briefing.

The lawmaker also criticized how airport authorities seemed to have “lack of foresight” and lack of contingency plan since the crane used to help lift the plane had to be outsourced.

Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Prospero Pichay, Jr. meanwhile said it’s about time that international flights be transferred to the airport in Clark, Pampanga.

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“Grabe ang traffic sa Naia, we only have one runway. It’s about time that we really transfer the international airport to Clark,” he said.

Castelo backed Pichay but said the management and operation of the airport should already be privatized to prevent mismanagement.

Sarmiento said the Department of Transportation submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a P6-billion budget for 2019 airport projects, but the DBM reduced it to P1.6 billion.   /vvp

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