Default Thumbnail

Chartered flight under probe had clearances — MIAA

February 17, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 257 views

A chartered flight under probe for suspected involvement in human trafficking has obtained necessary clearances, including Airport Police Department’s (APD) assistance, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said Thursday.

The aircraft with registry number and callsign N9527E owned by Cloud Nine No. 1 Leasing Company Limited, left for Dubai on Monday night.

In a statement, MIAA Senior Assistant General Manager Bryan Co said APD’s assistance to several vehicles going to the ramp was authorized following a written request from Globan Aviation Corporation.

“The assistance of the APD was conducted in accordance with standard operating procedures requiring APD patrol cars to escort vehicles without blinkers and with no MIAA issued permit to the Aircraft Movement Area (AMA). AMA Permits are issued annually by the MIAA to its official vehicles and that of the airlines and other airport agencies with operations in this restricted part of the NAIA,” he added.

Authorities are currently probing the chartered flight following a request from PNP Aviation Security Group NCR chief PCol Rhoderick Campo who reported that there were violations in the handling of the flight.

Co said the flight obtained approvals from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for entry-exit clearance; the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-ASG) for the aircraft exit clearance; the MIAA for ramp entry of vehicles that transported the passengers to the ramp.

All passengers were processed and cleared by the Bureau of Immigration on site, he added.

He said the MIAA shall continue with the probe leaving no stone unturned to dispel “insinuations that persons are being brought out of the country surreptitiously without going through mandated pre departure formalities.”

The MIAA assured the public that investigation into the incident would continue.

In a news release, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco explained that chartered flights fall under the category of special flights, wherein passengers are not processed in the immigration area but are rather inspected near the aircraft.

He said they have conducted an initial verification of the said incident with the BI Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 management.

“According to the initial report, there were 10 individuals on board the said aircraft. Seven passengers and 3 crew were listed in the manifest,” said Tansingco. “All underwent derogatory checks and were compliant to immigration formalities.”

He added that an immigration officer was likewise assigned to attend to and process the passengers in the said aircraft.

He said an emergency meeting was called by the Office of the Transportation Security where immigration representatives explained the role of the BI in processing departing individuals.

The BI is only one of numerous agencies that inspect departing and arriving special flights. Permits on security, health, duties and others are handled by other government agencies.

“The entrance of other individuals in the airport premises does not fall under the jurisdiction of the BI,” Tansingco said. “Our officers only process passengers, following the official General Declaration.”

Immigration officers are only given ramp access during special flights together with the Quarantine and Customs officers. They are also assigned at random except during Presidential flights.

During the said meeting, it was proposed that a one-stop-shop processing center be created to harmonize border clearance procedures.

Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers called on the attention of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on the issue.

Barbers stressed that other than human trafficking, drug trafficking is likewise possible using the same modus.

“Years ago, I have already warned and alerted these officials of the possibility of drug trafficking using private planes. Back then, I had unconfirmed reports of such activities. This might explain the abundance of supply even during the war on drugs. The accidental discovery of the latest illegal activity could be but the tip of the iceberg,” Barbers said.

The solon stressed that heads must roll in this incident and “this cannot take place innocently and without the knowledge of those who are tasked to implement strict controls in airports and all other ports of entry and exit.”

“My serious concern is the cargo in such instances. If human trafficking can take place, how much more with illegal drugs,” Barbers pointed out. Philippine News Agency