‘Sabotage’ not ruled out in Naia power outage – DOTr chief Bautista
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are investigating the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 power outage, which left thousands stranded on Monday, as potential sabotage is not ruled out, says Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.
The NBI and PNP are among the government agencies tasked to investigate Monday’s power failure at Naia.
“There will be an investigation which will be conducted by a joint committee composed of the Department of Transportation, Office of Transport Security, Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa), and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica), and this group will be joined by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) so that we will be able to determine what is the real cause because there are claims that it is not a regular fault that entered the system of Terminal 3,” explained Bautista in a Tuesday interview with the program The Source.
Bautista revealed that after discussing with Nica chief General Ricardo de Leon, two intelligence agents were assigned to probe the incident.
“We are not discounting the possibility that there might be sabotage… This is the reason why we have asked the other agencies to join,” he added when asked about the possible implications of this “irregular” fault.
Bautista said that the committee cannot yet dismiss possibilities of foul play “because this is the second time this has happened on a long weekend,” referring to a similar power outage that hit Naia on New Year’s Day.
“I think you cannot really discount the possibility of having somebody do it to embarrass the government or to prove they have something that we should give into,” said the transportation secretary.
“In fact, there are a lot of angles that were considered by NICA yesterday, but of course, I don’t want to preempt them,” he added.
The inter-agency committee is set to conduct its first meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday to establish investigation timelines, Baustista said.
Existing generator sets inadequate
Beyond sabotage possibilities, Bautista also noted that the existing generator sets in Terminal 3 could meet only 30% of the terminal’s original power requirements.
The DoTr chief then explained that the MIAA plans to secure more generator sets for Naia Terminal 3 as soon as it concludes its evaluations and makes an official recommendation for the number of generators needed.
“That’s the plan really of MIAA, to buy in more generator sets or even to rent generator sets. They are in the process of conducting an evaluation of how much more generators they will need,” he said.
“The 30% that they mentioned was based on the original capacity of Terminal 3, but Terminal 3 has expanded operations, there are more concessionaires now, and that’s the reason they will have to conduct an assessment… based on the result of the assessment they will make a recommendation to the board on how many more generators they will purchase or rent,” added Bautista.
He also clarified that long-term plans for the airport include conducting “a full electrical audit of the system” and improving the existing electrical system.
Private modernization ‘welcome’
Bautista also says he “welcomes” contributions from the private sector for Naia’s modernization.
“I would welcome this opportunity for the private sector to modernize the Manila International Airport because the private sector can be more efficient. They can implement faster reforms because they are not covered by certain government limitations. So I fully welcome the news that the private sector will enter into a concession agreement with the government for the operations and maintenance of Manila International Airport,” said the DoTr chief when asked about the unsolicited P100-billion proposal for Naia upgrades revived by six Philippine tycoons in April.
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