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Poe wants MIA, BI in Senate probe on alleged human trafficking modus in NAIA

Senator Grace Poe wants officials from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to appear in the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee to explain the alleged human smuggling at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"Base sa preliminary intel, mukhang kailangan talaga ipatawag ang MIAA dahil sila ang may hawak mismo sa NAIA, Bureau of Immigration dahil sila ang nagbigay ng departure clearance sa mga undeclared na pasahero, at PNP Aviation Security Unit na unang nag-alerto sa atin sa modus na ito," Poe said in a text message Thursday.

(Based on the preliminary intelligence, it appears that we need to call MIAA because they manage NAIA, the Bureau of Immigration because they issue the departure clearance to those undeclared passengers, and the PNP-Aviation Security unit, which gave us the information on this modus.)

Poe added that she also expects Global Aviation Service Corporation to cooperate in the investigation being the handler of the aircraft that carried the undeclared passengers.

"Umaasa tayo na magiging cooperative ang Globan Aviation bilang witness dahil sila naman ang ground handler ng flight na nasangkot dito," she said.

(We expect that Globan Aviation will be cooperative as a witness because they are the ground handler of the flight that was involved in this incident.)

In her privilege speech on Wednesday, Poe called on the Senate to investigate possible human smuggling activities using private planes.

She raised an incident that happened on February 13 involving an aircraft operated by Cloud Nine No. 1 Leasing Company Ltd., a Hong Kong-registered leasing company whose aircraft was handled by local company Globan Aviation Service Corporation.

The Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP) received an anonymous tip at 3:09 p.m. last Monday that six passengers had been declared for a flight set to depart for Dubai at 10:00 p.m. that night, but that the plane—with tail number N92527E—actually had 14 passengers, Poe said.

Despite efforts to stop the departure of the aircraft, Poe said the private plane took off at about 10:40 p.m.

Poe said this is not the first time an incident like this has happened in NAIA.

In December 2022, she said, some Chinese nationals managed to leave the country on a private aircraft without pre-flight inspection clearance.

According to Poe, this was reported to the MIAA, but no action was taken.

Poe's privilege speech was referred to the Senate blue ribbon committee, with the committee on public order and the committee on public services as secondary and tertiary committees, respectively.

In a statement, MIAA said it is investigating the said departure following a request from PNPAVSEGROUP NCR Chief Pol. Col. Rhoderick Campo after the issue of alleged violations in the handling of the flight.

According to their initial information, MIAA said Globan Aviation Corporation, the ground handling company, has obtained the necessary approvals from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for entry-exit clearance; the PNP Avseu for the Aircraft Exit Clearance, the MIAA for ramp entry of vehicles that transported the passengers to the Balagbag ramp, all of whom were processed and cleared by the Bureau of Immigration on site. 

"Notwithstanding these pieces of information, 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," MIAA said.

"Rest assured that MIAA will continue to uphold established procedures in airport security and operations," it added.

Meanwhile, MIAA confirmed that it authorized the provision of Airport Police Department assistance to a number of vehicles going to Balagbag ramp last February 14 following an official written request  from Globan.

"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 MIA Authority to its official vehicles and that of the airlines and other airport agencies with operations in this restricted part of the NAIA," it said.   —VAL/NB, GMA Integrated News