Solon wants equipment upgrade for NAIA amid runway mishap

MANILA — A partylist lawmaker on Monday stressed the need to acquire new equipment, particularly for airport rescue and firefighting services, following the runway mishap at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In a statement, PBA Rep. Jericho Nograles said the acquisition of sufficient airfield rescue and firefighting trucks, as well as a pneumatic lifting system should be prioritized during the budget deliberations.

He noted that the acquisition of such capabilities is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards.

“In light of the recent airport snafu, I hope the DOTr (Department of Transportation) will prioritize the acquisition of much needed equipment so as not to stall our economy,” he said.

“I would definitely support any request by the DOTr to get allocations for the purchase of the equipment needed to ensure that our airports are at par with international standards,” he added.

Thousands of passengers were affected and many flights were either cancelled or diverted, as runway 06/24 was closed after Xiamen Air flight MF8667 skidded off on Thursday night due to the heavy rains.

Nograles called on all parties to stop finger-pointing.

“This is not the time however to be passing blames on this incident because to be fair with our airport officials, their limited equipment made it really hard for them to quickly clear the runway…The best that we can do is to learn from this experience,” Nograles said.

Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chair of the House transportation committee, said a congressional probe will be conducted on September 5 to investigate the runway mishap and find solutions to prevent such incident.

Officials from the NAIA, Manila International Airport Authority and DOTr will be invited to the hearing, Sarmiento noted.