Some Naia passengers opt not to be pestered by bed bugs, rats

Some travelers poke fun at Naia bed bugs, rats: They have IDs

/ 12:45 PM March 05, 2024

Some Naia passengers opt not to be pestered by bed bugs, rats

FILE PHOTO: Bed bugs and rats were making their presence known at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), and several quarters were raising an uproar over the facility’s management. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s main gateway to the world is again in the spotlight – this time for some bugging reasons.

Bed bugs and rats were making their presence known at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), and several quarters were raising an uproar over the facility’s management.


But two veteran flyers going in and out of Naia’s terminals for many years seemed to not mind about the unwelcome guests too much.


They even think that a congressional investigation on the matter is no longer necessary.

Long-time flyer Thelma Nacion just returned to the United States from the Philippines. She expressed no shock over the news of bed bugs and rats roaming around Naia.

“I have been a passenger here at Naia since 19-forgotten,” she told this reporter in jest. “I am not even concerned about those things. What’s important to me is that I get to my destination, and that’s it.”

READ: Naia managers spurred into action vs ‘surot’

Thelma is a US citizen and often visits her family in the Philippines. She would usually travel with her 68-year-old brother, Edmond.

Edmond believes that the pests could have been brought in from different places by the passengers themselves.


“Rats, bed bugs, cockroaches – they may have entered the airport through passengers’ luggage. You won’t even notice them (pests) because they’re usually very quick,” he said.

“Who knows? Those pests may have been carrying IDs and entered the airport just to mingle with passengers,” Thelma chimed in.

“The airport management can just clean the place better to solve this problem,” she added, seeing no urgency for the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the issue.

READ: Miaa: Naia Terminals 2 and 3 now free from bed bugs

But for overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Lizelle Vasquez, the pests’ presence should be a cause for great concern.

The 49-year-old, who was waiting for her flight to Kuwait, appeared bothered by the news.

“If those pests, like bed bugs, bite you, you might get sick. What will happen then?” she asked.

“I think better hygiene measures are really needed here at the airport,” she added.

When asked if she thinks Terminal 1 is clean enough to eliminate pests, Lizelle quickly looked around and said, “not really.”

Congressional probe? ‘I hope not’

The Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) records that an estimated 45 million passengers arrived and left the country through Naia in 2023.

Many travelers took to social media to their disappointment and disgust over Naia’s management, with the latest being photos and videos of bed bugs, cockroaches, and rats roaming in the facility.

Senator Grace Poe said that while the issue is atypical, it may negatively impact Philippine tourism if not dealt with immediately.

Some Naia passengers opt not to be pestered by bed bugs, rats

This screengrab from the video posted Friday, March 1, 2024, by @Curve251 on X (formerly Twitter) shows a rat roaming on the ceiling of the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Naia.

At the House of Representatives, OFW party-list Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into reports of pests at Naia.

However, Miaa General Manager Eric Ines hoped the matter would no longer require such an investigation.

He asserted that airport authorities are already taking action – “double time” – to resolve it.

“I hope not because we are already fixing lots of things,” he told, although also recognizing that a probe is “a prerogative of our lawmakers.”

“We are on double time to make repairs and implement steps to provide a convenient trip for our passengers,” the Miaa official added.

Improved housekeeping

Ines said inspection of restaurants around the airport terminals is underway to ensure their compliance with hygiene standards. Inspection of seats at the airport where bed bugs are reportedly nested is likewise ongoing.

“We are also fixing the escalators and elevators in our terminals, walkalators at Terminal 3, and other regular repairs and inspections,” Ines enumerated in a text message.

On hiring pest exterminators, Ines said the airport has existing pest control and housekeeping providers. He added that they are currently communicating with them to deploy more pest control and housekeeping personnel at Naia.

Ines further disclosed that airport authorities are in the middle of improving the baggage handling system at Naia Terminal 3, and passenger boarding bridges in all Naia terminals in light of the issue.

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Naia is set to undergo rehabilitation under a P171-billion contract recently awarded to a consortium led by San Miguel Corp.

TAGS: bed bugs, NAIA, Rat, Travel

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