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MIAA not ruling out sabotage for NAIA 3 power outage on Labor Day

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is not ruling out sabotage as a reason behind the power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on Labor Day, a disruption which affected dozens of flights.

“We’re not saying it’s sabotage, we’re also not saying it’s not sabotage,” MIAA general manager Cesar Chiong said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

“We’re not discounting any possible item… We don't rule out anything as of this time,” he said.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista reiterated that the agency “cannot really discount the possibility of having somebody do it to embarrass the government or to prove they have something that we should give in to.”

Bautista said an investigation is underway to be conducted by a joint committee composed of the Department of Transportation, Office of Transport Security, MIAA, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

“This group will be joined by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police so that we will be able to determine what is the real cause because there are claims that it is not an irregular fault that entered the system of Terminal 3,” Bautista said.

On Monday afternoon, a power outage hit the NAIA Terminal 3, which affected some 9,000 passengers in 24 flights, with some international flights delayed.

The 9,000 affected passengers were equivalent to 7% of the total number of passengers who usually travel through the NAIA Terminal 3, while the 24 roundtrip flights cancelled translates to 6.5% of the 750 to 760 flights operated

Authorities identified a “fault current” as the cause of the power outage, with Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista ordering a full electrical audit of the terminal—the last audit of which was conducted in 2017 and not all of the audit's recommendations were implemented.

Chiong said the MIAA is preparing the terms of reference for the electrical audit.

“Then we will bid it out already and we will just request approval from the MIAA Board for us to reallocate some of the funds that were budgeted this year for this particular purpose,” the MIAA chief said.

He said the audit will take 60 to 90 days. Chiong said MIAA is targeting to award the electrical audit contract within 30 to 60 days.

“Then in four months’ time we will be able to understand ano ba ‘yung current load natin, ano ‘yung kailangan natin i-upgrade. Ano ‘yung mga kailangan natin i-prioritize na areas,” he said.

The latest mishap comes after at least 282 flights at NAIA were canceled, diverted, or delayed on New Year’s Day, affecting some 56,000 passengers, due to an outdated system.

Just last week, a group of six Filipino conglomerates and US-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) formed the Manila international Airport Consortium (MIAC) and submitted an unsolicited proposal to upgrade the NAIA through a public-private partnership (PPP).—AOL/KBK, GMA Integrated News