NAIA passengers urged to sanitize, observe cough etiquette

Marje Pelayo   •   January 24, 2020   •   1020

Passengers wearing face masks who arrived from Guangzhou, China lineup for immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 22 January 2020. According to media reports, at least nine people have died and more than 400 people are confirmed infected by a new respiratory virus which was first detected in Wuhan, China. The virus, called the coronavirus, can be passed between humans and has spread to the USA, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has ordered terminal managers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to ensure availability at all times of hand sanitizers in all of its four terminals.

During a press briefing on Friday (January 24), the Bureau of Quarantine stressed that it is important to practice good hand hygiene as it is still the best way to protect oneself from acquiring any virus such as the novel coronavirus.

Proper hand hygiene includes hand washing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand rub, or antiseptic handwash.

Likewise, the Bureau also emphasized the strict practice of cough etiquette which includes covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing preferably with disposable tissue.

Proper disposal of the used tissue is further advised.

It is also advised to strengthen one’s immune system by drinking lots of fluid and eating healthy meals.

Meanwhile, MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal expressed the agency’s full support to the Bureau of Quarantine in its efforts to mitigate the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“We always recognize each other’s mandates. In this situation, we defer to the Bureau of Quarantine and will submit to their guidelines,” Monreal said.

Quarantine officers are provided with a space for their examination booth located in areas accessible to an exit to the tarmac in case of need to transfer suspected cases to designated hospitals.

MIAA will also provide writing desks for passengers especially those from China to fill-out the health declaration card.

Monreal also ordered terminal police chiefs to strictly sanitize quarantine areas from other airport personnel including the members of media.

DOTr boosts testing capacity in NAIA as OFWs return for the holidays

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 17, 2020

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has boosted its One-Stop-Shop as more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) return home for the holidays.

DOTr’s Office for the Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Usec. Raul Del Rosario said this is to prevent the previous inconvenience caused by delayed COVID-19 test results.

Based on the OTS data, an estimated 5,000 OFWs arrive in the Philippines every day during the holidays.

Del Rosario also said additional Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel were deployed.

The One-Stop-Shop partnered with four COVID-testing laboratories to accommodate more OFWs.

Nagkaroon kami ng commitment among these laboratories, nag-commit sila na 24 hours ilalabas nila ang result at walang lalagpas ng 48 hours (We had a commitment among these laboratories. They committed to release the results in 24 hours and not exceeding 48 hours),” he said.

The One-Stop-Shop can process 10,000 swab tests per day, Del Rosario added.

Aside from the laboratories, there are also 21,000 slots available in hotels where OFWs can stay while waiting for their COVID-19 test results. -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

P1.8-M worth of smuggled drugs seized at NAIA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P1.8 million worth of smuggled drugs at a warehouse near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Based on the report of the BOC-NAIA, the packages were found at the Pair Cargo warehouse and were declared as “health care products” from Pakistan.

Upon inspection of the goods, it contained 35,345 tablets of diazepam and nitrazepam or anti-anxiety medicines. It also did not have the necessary documents from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The confiscated goods were turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on December 04, 2020, for further investigation, case profiling and build up against personalities involved in the unlawful and fraudulent importation, and prosecution for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165) in relation to Sections 118 (Prohibited Importation), 1113 (Goods Liable for Seizure and Forfeiture) and 1401 (Unlawful Importation) of the Republic Act 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). AAC

BI augments manpower at NAIA ahead of holiday surge

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is augmenting its manpower at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) this December in view of the expected influx of travelers during the holiday season.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente directed immigration officers assigned at the bureau’s main office and other satellite, extension and field offices in Metro Manila to be deployed at NAIA to render primary inspection duties at the airport’s immigration arrival and departure counters.

“This is a temporary measure that we are taking proactively,” Morente said.

“While we do not expect a major rise in the number of travelers this holiday season, we’d rather err on the side of caution and beef up our deployment,” he added.

The directive comes after the recent update on international travel restrictions by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) which again allowed the visa free entry of balikbayans.

Immigration officers presently assigned at BI offices in Metro Manila are required to comply with the directive.

This order exempts division and section chiefs, seniors and those suffering from serious illnesses.

BI port operations division chief Atty. Candy Tan said she sought the augmentation of immigration personnel at NAIA in anticipation of a slight increase in the number of international flights and volume of passengers in the coming weeks despite travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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