Tugade ‘hurt’ by ‘inutil’ tags on Xiamen incident
Being called useless and incompetent, does hurt, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade admitted on Wednesday.
“Madam chair, may mga narinig kami na tinatawag kaming inutil. Wala raw kaming alam. Wala raw kaming ginagawa. Ipokrito ako kung sasabihin kong walang epekto,” Tugade told the Senate committee on public services.
(Madam chair, we’ve been hearing we are called useless. That we know nothing. That we are competent. I’d be a hypocrite if I’d say it has no effect)
“Nasasaktan ba kami? At some point oo, pero alam namin na kasama ito sa aming trabaho,” he added.
(Do we get hurt? At some point, yes, but we know this is part of our work)
The committee being chaired by Senator Grace Poe is conducting an inquiry into the August 16 incident involving a Xiamen aircraft that veered off the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
But because of the incident, Tugade lamented that everything they did seemed to have been just put to waste.
“Kahit na kung tutuusin ay ginagawa naman namin ang lahat para maibalik sa ayos ang lahat. Pero ganoon yata talaga iyon,” he said.
The official earlier explained that it took them 36 hours to remove the plane from the runway because of the circumstances at that time.
“I won’t say fast enough, but I’d like to believe that it was a reasonable time given the circumstances,” he said.
He said the plane was huge and was loaded with four tons of unused fuel.
“One wrong move, the plane might explode,” Tugade pointed out.
“We attempted to siphon off the fuel but failed to do so because the pump was broken and the valve closed, perhaps b because of the hard landing.”
Tugade also cited the “muddy terrain,” the downpour and the strong winds.
“The odds were clearly not in our favor,” he said.
While they were not trying to justify the incident, Tugade said that “these things happen.”
“It was an accident that no one wanted, and we responded as fast as we could. We tried to minimize the inconveniences the best way we could,” he added.
Flights had been canceled and thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport because of the incident. /cbb
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