MIAA needed P1 billion for generators; why request just now? Poe asks
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday questioned the timing of the Manila International Airport Authority’s (MIAA) P1-billion additional fund request for the procurement of electric generators after the recent power outage in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3.
It was on Tuesday when Senior Assistant General Manager Bryan Co said that the airport management would need at least P1 billion for the purchase of power generators to achieve the Naia Terminal 3’s requirements for backup power.
“We’re looking at a possibility of around P1-billion po for the 100 percent [power requirement] … parang powerplant na rin po kasi ‘yung itatayo natin for Terminal 3 (because we’d have to build almost a power plant for Terminal 3),” said Co over PTV.
When asked if they’ve already requested the said funds, Co said that they are still planning to do so.
In a statement on Wednesday, however, Poe questioned why the MIAA is requesting the said funds only now, explaining that the P1 billion can be subsidized through the budget’s unprogrammed funds or even through the revolving funds from airport operations.
“The question is, if they knew that the existing backup power can only support 30 percent of the terminal’s power requirement, why did they not propose to procure backup generators during our budget hearings last year?” asked Poe who heads the Senate committee on public services.
“Clearly, they have been remiss in their duties, by not proposing an upgraded backup system,” she added.
Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista also bared in a separate televised interview the need for the MIAA to conduct a full electrical audit of the system, noting that the last electrical audit was done in 2017 with none of its recommendations actually implemented.
READ: ‘Sabotage’ not ruled out in Naia power outage – DOTr chief Bautista
“There was a full electrical audit conducted in 2017? We would like to know, what were the recommendations?” pressed Poe.
“Why did past and present Naia administrations fail to comply with the recommended upgrades?” she added.
Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara in a separate statement said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should include the requested amount on its National Expenditure Program (NEP).
“DBM should include the said amount when they submit the NEP or budget sometimes after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Sona (State of the Nation Address). Crucial infrastructure ‘yan,” said Angara who chairs the Senate committee on finance.
Angara also said that it is possible for MIAA to utilize the government’s supplemental budget or even its savings.
Inquirer.net has already reached out to the MIAA for a comment on the senators’ pronouncements but has yet to receive a response as of writing.
To recall, power outages have already struck Naia multiple times, the most recent of which was on Monday occurring at around 1:05 a.m. and was restored at around 8:46 a.m
The first time, meanwhile, was when a power outage disrupted Terminal 3 airport operations in September 2022. But the most notable was the power failure that downed the country’s entire air navigation system right on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2023, which caused the cancellation and diversion of hundreds of flights for days.
Meralco exec: ‘Fault current’ triggered power outage in Naia Terminal 3
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